Religious Tolerance is under attack: The Attraction to Evil

I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance — born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God — is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.

We have been slow to recognize the degree to which religious faith perpetuates man’s inhumanity to man. Sam Harris from his book ‘The end of Faith’

In this country, April, like December, has become something of a symbol of religious tolerance. As the Easter and Passover seasons coincide – like Christmas and Hanukkah — Americans celebrate the benefits of life in a live-and-let-live society. That is a wonderful tradition.

But lately a lot of people feel things changing.  Thanks to Conservative Christians. Conservative Christians, the Religious Right rise up against what they see as the increasing secularization of society – the death of what they think of as the American way. As a result of that uprising, other people see a threat to their idea of the American way.

Respect and tolerance for religious perspective other than one’s own has worked for this society and for post-modern World War II Europe. Today, if it is threatened by Muslim extremists, it is also threatened by extreme responses to them. And if it is threatened in this country by forces pushing a religious agenda in politics, it could also be threatened by extreme responses to those forces.

When politics enters religion, politics rules.  Religion is used a tool of fear. These so-called Christian Conservatives, and the Religious Right do in fac lose their religion.  It is accomplished in three ways:  television, repudiation of all religions except their own, and money. Religion has no place in politics, and politics has no place in religion.

Reality has come to seem more and more like what we are shown by cameras.  Susan Sontag

We see it everyday. Just watch Glenn Beck.  The good Christian that he is attracting us to evil.  His hatred of all Muslims and his fear of the great Caliphate is driving toward evil. His mission is to make us afraid, ignore our religion and faith, accept his version of God and Religion and become as afraid as he is.  He is not alone.  There is Fox news, members of government and the tea party.  They want to bring us back to their version of God by taking away our rights, condemning all who do not believe in their God, and the lock and load method.  They do not see God as a “moral” being at all. For the Christian Right, God is that abundant overflowing happy joyness at the heart of us, and which allows us to be free to flourish.  To be entirely without such abundant, self-delighting life is to be evil.

Politics, has always been a con game. The American voter, insisting on his faith in a higher order, clings to his religion, which promises another, better life; and defends passionately the illusion that the men he chooses to lead him are of finer nature than he. And it has been traditional that the successful politician honor this illusion.

Advertising in more ways than wants to admit, is also a con game.  Politicians have used advertising well. It is not shocking that politicians and ad men have discovered each other. Once they recognized that the citizen did not so much vote for a candidate as make a psychological purchase of him, they began to work together.  Advertising has meant a reshaping of our very concept of truth especially true of advertising on television. Television is being used to seduce voters and the old political values disappeared.  The politicians on television tell you that we need to be brought back to our values and God.  That is not what they mean.  They mean to get elected, and then forget the people who put them their.  Then they lie, by telling you they didn’t lie to you to get your vote.  It is the road to evil from God-fearing good Christians.  Television is particularly useful to the politician who can be charming and disarming, but lacks ideas.  Does Sarah Palin come to mind?

On television it matters less that he does not have ideas. His personality is what the viewers want to share. He need be neither statesman or crusader; he must only show up on time. They have made us believe that we want celebrities.

We have been here before.  Remember McCarthy?  His hearings into communism without evidence, proof or facts.  Just innuendo and lies.  Now we have Peter King doing the same thing.  He is holding hearings without proof, evidence or facts. His intent is to condemn a religion, Islam.  Condemn the religion and the not the radial fanatics.  Condemn the religion simply because it is not “our”. Our past is strewn with this sort of religious bias.  We hated all Catholics.  We couldn’t elect a Catholic president because he would consult with the Pope and government would be ruled by his Catholicism.  There has always been a bias against all immigrants and their religions.  I will share one, which is a personal one.

My grandparents were immigrants from Greece. They fled World War I.  My mother was a second generation Greek, an American.  She spoke two languages, as I do.  She worked her way through college, Wittenberg University.  She graduated cum laude.  On the day of her graduation, she was called into the Presidents office.  He gradulated her and then told her that she would never work.  His reason: her ethnic background, Greek, and her religion, Greek Orthodox.  This was 1940. To my mother’s credit, she read him the riot act.  She asked him if he knew this from the beginning, why did you accept me in university? The she called him stupid.  And he was.  The Eastern Orthodox Church was the first, the original Bible was written in Greek, open any dictionary and you find that most words are derived from the Greek. The Greeks gave us democracy, art, music, the first Christian Religion, from which all other religions followed.  He was just plain ignorant.

Conservative Christians and the Religious Rights main mission is to raise money so they can impose their version of religion, values and fear upon the people of American and beyond.  Check their websites.  They want you to donate. By donating you begin to pave your way to heaven.

Virtue and morality is gone.  Their morality is money and their virtue is fear.  The attraction to evil.

We are not blameless in this attraction to evil.  We only have to look to ourselves to see that we enabled them.  The First Amendment gives us the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.  There is no government religion,  The founders had the good sense to understand that God is a personal choice and not a public one.

As I said in an earlier post Republicans want to save God.  But God doesn’t need saving.  God is everywhere.  He should be in your heart and not in your politics. The only people who need saving are the Radical Republicans, Christian Conservatives and the Religious Right, who profess their love of God, but in actuality have lost God.  Politics and money rule. It is the attraction to evil.

 

 

 

 

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