Sunday, April 08, 2007

My Bit of Bloggin' Against Theocracy

One of the annoying things that always comes up when there's an argument about a theistic phrase on money, in the pledge, or on some government building is "who cares?" or "it's nothing to worry about." It may qualify as a 'little thing' in most people's eyes, but it reminds me of one statement I heard years ago on television: "Racism isn't just some KKK member putting a burning cross in your front yard. It's the gradual wearing down that happens every day." The problem with government endorsements of theism is analogous: Every school day children are compelled to say a pledge specifically modified to include a deity. Every time the president gets on the air, he talks about God. Unconstitutional endorsements get passed unanimously. All of this adds up to the perception that religion is necessary to be patriotic, and that questioning faith is therefore unpatriotic and evil. Don't think. Just believe what Big Brother believes. You've got a right to think whatever you want, but we're here to make sure thinking on your own makes things uncomfortable for you.

That is why it's immoral and unethical for a government to endorse religion. Like it or not, the people most interested in knocking over the wall of separation are in favor of bigger and bigger government, just to make sure that everyone gets the message that believing in something contrary to The State's beliefs is wrong. It's no different than what the likes of McCarthy and Stalin did, only slightly smaller in scale. For now.

Rewrite a little history. Apply a little white-out to the Constitution. Put words in the Founding Fathers' mouths. Stick a little atheist-bashing in between every religious and allegedly patriotic line to designate them as The Enemy. That's how it starts. We need to stop it before it grows beyond culturally acceptable bigotry.


Rhoadan said...

Weirdly, in spite of the "Under God" phrase, the Pledge of Allegiance seems to be part of establishing a cult of flag worship. Think about it. Religious language is used to describe treating it disrespectfully ("desecrating"), and you pledge to the flag before the country. Sick, huh?

However, addressing the main point of your post, I will note that the little theistic sayings not only assume the existence of a deity, but a specific deity at that. Those of us who are religious, but not of an Abrahamic faith find that as off-putting as any atheist does.

Ranson said...

Hell, I just wish there was a way to even get away from some of it for a while. My oldest kid just got accepted to what I thought was the only secular preschool (and by far the best preschool) in the area. Hoo, boy, was I wrong. Fortunately, getting a look at the preschool curriculum, I'm not too worried. The stuff for older kids is really dominionist, though. The writers are part of the Pensacola community, and have been drinking a lot of the crazy juice down there. Fortunately, at the age of three, my son knows far more about Darth Vader than Jesus, and I intend to keep it that way.

Living in the south, it's so hard to get away from cross-institutionalized religion, it's scary. I get tired of having it hammered down my throat every way, every day. Hell, I work at a pharma company. If I walk into the QC lab, there's always gospel music playing. Monthly prayers are posted by kind, helpful people everywhere around the building. The only people not constantly referring to Jesus are maintainence, the two young guys in the raw materials lab, and the Bhuddists.

I was forced to go to an Easter service with my wife yesterday, if only because she was guilted into it by her mother. The pastor wasn't as directly bigoted this year (far less about the evils of homosexuality), and I didn't have to hear about how I'd burn in hell if I falsely took the communion the snuck into the service (half hour of that, last year), but I did get to hear about idiot scientists trying to explain the parting of the Red Sea, and how "It doesn't matter if you're Japanese, Chinese, Colored, or Mexican, you can be saved".

And people wonder why some of us have an issue with old-time religion.

Ryan Michael said...

I always say the two groups it is still socially acceptable to be prejudicial toward are homosexuals and atheists. Both because of people's magic sky man belief.

JackalMage said...

And this is precisely why I make it a point to casually deny religion its special status in my everyday conversations:

I proudly refer to myself as 'godless' (I prefer it to 'atheist' because of the slight shock value).

Whenever someone says, "But Jesus wouldn't have wanted that" I comment something to the tune of "Maybe, but God certainly would have." I'm getting better at being able to quote verses from the OT that back me up.

Whenever someone seems uncomfortable talking about someone else's religion, I remind them that religion is a choice like anything else, and is just as open to ridicule as anything else someone might choose.

Anytime someone gets in a bad position and thanks God that it wasn't worse, I remind them that God allowed it to get as bad as it did.

When people attribute some good quality of a human to Jesus, I remind them that everyone feels that way, no matter their religious preference, and reference game theory's interactions with evolution if possible.

This is a consciously adopted position designed to shake people free of the Doggerel they unconsciously adopt on a day-do-day basis.

Anonymous said...

When I was in grade 2, they changed the words to (the English version of) O Canada.

"And stand on guard, O Canada" became "From far and wide, O Canada"

"O Canada, Glorious and free" became "God keep our land/Glorious and free"

(Which seems to me the opposite of "From far and wide" ... never mind the, y'know, "Free" part)

The principal was thrilled (it was a Catholic school). Even at the time I didn't get it.

I sing the other words. Noone notices now that I'm no longer in (provincially-funded, that's another story) Catholic school and therefore can't get detention.

Your own flag-worshiping (Am I standing on guard b/c of those bombs in the air? :) ) national anthem seems to have escaped the God clause thus far (at least as sung at hockey).