Friday, December 14, 2012

The Fraud of the "God-Fearing" Nation

There's no question that the United States is a nation that takes it's religious values seriously.  Whether you're a strong and fervent in the practice of your faith or reserved and private, Americans still hold faith as a mechanism that is close to their heart.  It's still a source of comfort in tragedy, a source of counsel during hard times, and a source of security in hopeless times.  I, myself am a "Red-Letter Christian" meaning that Christ's words, to me, have greater authority than any other scripture.  I follow his example of living, service, and empathy.  

In society, however, there are those who'd take advantage of your faith for the purposes of manipulating your view of the world to conform with those who masquerade using faith as their mask, and being something ugly, evil, and despicable underneath.  Today, those heads reared their view and made some despicable comments.  Former Governor Mike Huckabee who is a contributor and host on Fox News today told viewers in no uncertain terms that the reason God let these children and adults be murdered is because the government has systematically taken God out of the school system and that this tragedy is the result of that sinful and evil act.  

I'm not going to minimize the assertion that the spiritual world exists, that it can have influence on the here and now.  That miracles happen, justice is served in a divine way, and that God can provide for our needs in special and unique ways...most of which are subtle.  I, myself will attest that some very amazing things have happened to me in my life which reinforces this viewpoint.  But...this does not mean that God must be an institutionalized, state-funded being to be present in our lives.  Did you know that The Founding Fathers, while wise and great in many ways also were pragmatists.  They saw first hand the political corruption that occurred when you mixed religion and politics.  

For example, The Church of England is a publicly funded church, founded in the 1500s by King Henry VIII.  King Henry VIII's story is, in a nutshell, this:  Henry was married to Kathrine of Aragon from Spain.  The purpose was to bring Spain and England together as political allies.  So of course, Kathrine and Henry tried to produce an heir.  They got their daughter Mary I.  After Mary I was born, Kathrine was unable to conceive because her labor has been very hard leaving her barren.  So, because Kathrine could not produce an heir that was male, King Henry sought to divorce her.  Under Catholic edict and rules of marriage, you're not allowed to divorce except under conditions of adultery.  So, King Henry, obviously not happy that he can't get his way...expelled the Catholic Church from England, and established what is now The Church of England.  The Church is a political arm of the government, who's head, The Archbishop of Canterbury is appointed by the royalty.  The only reason that King Henry established the Church in the first place was to be rid of the Catholic Church so he could get a divorce.  He established himself as it's leader above the Archbishop, and declared Protestantism as the State religion.  

Let's go back further to a bloody time in history.  The Crusades.  The First Crusade was the effort by the Catholics to retake Jerusalem from the Moors, who had taken residence in the Holy City.  Muslims revere Jerusalem just as much as Protestants and Catholics do.  They do believe there is significance to the city and it's various landmarks of history.  The Dome of the Rock is the most popular landmark.  During this time in history, the Catholic Church controlled many nations through each nation's individual monarch.  Asserting divinity as God's representative on Earth, it wasn't hard to coerce a leader in Europe to do the Church's bidding when required.  Furthermore, the masses who were mostly ignored by their leaders often found solace in the old churches of Europe.  The church was the only source of instruction for the peasants, the only source of charity, and the only source of salvation.  With literacy very low and poverty very high, the Pope was very much able to manipulate the peasants into doing whatever he wanted with only the threat of everlasting torment of their immortal soul.  

In the Pope's campaign to retake Jerusalem from the Moors, The Pope, his Eminence Urban II, promised that anyone who served would be granted forgiveness for their immortal soul.  Now, today we would look at that promise and flip him the bird and walk away.  But being that literacy and comprehension was so lacking among the peasants, they agreed without question, and laid siege Jerusalem.  Pope Urban II started a war with the Moors for his own political gain using religion as the means of his manipulation.

Ok, if you're still with me, let's fast forward to the modern day.  In the modern day, we have Christianity with a conservative slant.  Many people equate conservatism with Christianity thanks to the rise of the conservative movement in 1980s and their huge gains between then and 2006.  During that be Christian was to be Republican.  To be a "Liberal" Christian was to be labeled a sellout, or a weak Christian or a misguided soul who didn't know the limits between Government and private giving.  The Conservative Christian movement was monumentally successful in facilitating the election of very conservative candidates such as Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, George Bush '41 and George W. Bush '43.  The appeal to elect these candidates was the appeal to values.  That Christian Conservatives should vote based on values, and do so even at the expense of your own well-being.  They were successful and branding the Liberal political agenda as radical, socialist and equating that perceived socialism to evil.  To be socialist was to be communist, and to be communist was to be evil and totalitarian like Communist China or the U.S.S.R., and therefore to be liberal was to be evil as a result.  Any social spending program which benefits the working class and poor was branded as a give away, a handout, an "entitlement" to people who weren't entitled.  And people were convinced to believe this on the grounds that God doesn't bless giving when it's "forced" or coerced.  That private charity yielded more terrestrial rewards.  That your own fruits of your labor would yield great and wealthy rewards and that God would bless your hard work and generosity with more wealth and greater provision.  The conservative movement was very successful in appealing to people's greed for more by sacrificing what many believed to be "a little".  Movement: Conservatism (as Paul Krugman labels it appropriately in "Conscience of a Liberal", "Return to Depression Economics", and "End This Depression NOW!", took the faith of many, and used it to further their own political agenda spoon-feeding generations of voters to believe that if the government takes your money, spends it, and gives it to your brothers and sisters (nationally) that you won't be blessed as a result and that money will get wasted and not go where it needs to.  The Conservative movement appealed to the fears of loss by voters by feeding them this non-biblical dogma.  We are not a "Christian" nation ladies and gentlemen.  We're a nation who agrees that Christianity, and everything else is worth of basic courtesy and respect.  That people deserve to choose what and how to believe, and that it is not the role of the State to establish a "Christian Nation."  We are not a theocracy, we've never been a Theocracy, and we will never be a Theocracy because we can't.  

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
          ~ The First Amendment, The US Constitution

The Pharisees, desiring to trap Jesus, asked him a question.  "Teacher, is it good for us to pay taxes?"  Sensing their hypocrisy, Jesus asked "Who's face is on the Denaris?"  "Caesar's." replied the pharisee   "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, render unto God, that which is God's."  They were all amazed and left him.  (See Matt 22:15-22)

So now let's fast forward to today, where a gunman walked into an elementary school and butchered twenty children and eight adults.  Most reasonable and sane people would agree that such an event is extremely terrible, heartbreaking, and just as pure Hell as you can get short of being there.  We have Mike Huckabee, who could have just said, "My prayers are with the families." and left it at that.  But no...he had to use this tragedy to exploit the fears of people who are God fearing, but don't know anymore than what they're told about the Nature of God.  Mike Huckabee is asserting that because the Court removed mandatory prayer from public schools, because these justices enforced the law as it is written, that they enforced the Anti-establishment clause of The US Constitution, that God allowed a gunman to kill 28 people brutally as punishment.  Nothing is more spiteful, hateful, and evil as this comment is.  Watch the whole comment for yourself:

Nothing is so horrible to blame God's alleged absence from a building for a massacre happening.  

Friends, tonight I just want to say that each individual person is responsible for their individual faith.  Government cannot tell you to believe in something religious.  It defeats the whole purpose of it.  To blame judges for executing the Law of the United States as they are charged to do for the massacre of 28 men, women, and children is an appalling thing to say.  It's an attempt to play on the fears of those who love their children, and to coerce them into demanding that "The State" do something that the State is not permitted, both morally and legally to do: State-sponsored Religion taught to your kids in a public school.  Nothing is more destructive to a society when the government starts dictating what is and isn't right in faith matters.  It's even more destructive when they strive to integrate Church and State in public institutions for the purposes of conditioning your children to believe a certain way.  Liberals believe that every person has the right, obligation, and duty to decide their own path in life on your own, or with people you CHOOSE to allow to guide you.  The whole debate comes down to one phrase: Free Will.

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