Saturday, April 9, 2011

Secular government is not acceptable!

I haven't posted for nearly a month.  I was traveling for a while, but had planned to post while I was away.  The problem is that mere hours after I landed in a certain good-ol' Christian Latin American country, my laptop was stolen right out of my hotel room, along with my camera.  That made posting difficult.  I'm sure the Christian who stole it simply had to ask for forgiveness from his imaginary friend to feel better, with absolutely no accountability at all to me or any attempt to make amends to the real live person it was stolen from.  Don't you love religion?

My journey took me through a couple of airports in the United States.  During my transits, I spent some time in the airport bookstores.  It had been a while since I lived in the USA, and I had forgotten just how much bitter hatred there is for fellow Americans of different political persuasions.  I actually asked the clerk if Americans truly do hate each other this much.  Titles in the bookstore included: Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O'Reilly (guess who the pinheads are), How to Talk to a Liberal If You Must by Ann Coulter, 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy, etc.  The political and social environment in the USA is pure poison, and I honestly felt a little sick being immersed in it even for the few hours of my transit.

The book that caught my attention the most was called To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine by Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and, alarmingly, a candidate for the presidency in 2012.  Can you guess my problem with his book title?  The word that most concerned me was secular, and the implication that a secular government is a terrible thing that must be stopped.

I'm not sure when secular became a dirty word, but it seems there is often a confusion about it in the minds of the ignorant general public.  The word secular means to not be concerned with matters of religion.  It takes no stance on religious issues, because it just doesn't care.  Newt argues in his introduction that a secular government would destroy people's religious freedom.  A secular government is not an attack on any person's religious faith.  My pen makes no statement about the existence of your god(s).  It has no religious logo or labeling of any kind.  It is a secular pen.  Is it threatening to your faith?  Do you require it to make a religious statement in order for you to feel you are free to practice your religion?

So if Newt doesn't want a secular government, what does he want?  Well, if a government is not secular, then it is either atheist or religious.  I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that Newt doesn't want an explicitly atheist government, one which declares as a matter of policy that gods do not exist.  So let's assume that Newt wants a religious government.  Which religion?  His, of course.  A Christian government for all.  But doesn't that infringe on people's right to be free from Christianity, and practice their own faith or none at all?  Isn't that what he wanted in his introduction, as described above?

Now here is the point, and what makes me so annoyed and angry.  How many comments do I get on this site, and how many do more popular atheist sites get, from religious people telling us that their faith isn't hurting anybody, that they're not trying to cram it down our throats, and to leave them alone?  I can tell you that it is a lot.  Most of these comments seem to come when the religious commenter has no rebuttal at all to the atheist's argument made in the post, but that is irrelevant.  The bottom line is that there are a shitload of religious people out there, some with large followings and who are running for presidency of the USA, who will not settle for anything less than a religious government.  They will not be satisfied with a government that takes no stance on religion, they must have it their way, and have their imaginary friend of choice forced on the rest of us through the policies of a theist government.  This is exactly why "I CALL BULLSHIT!" on all of those people who bitch and whine about how they're not trying to force their religion on the rest of us.  It is simply not true.  There are LARGE political movements out there which aim to do just that, and in many countries it is already a reality.


Magnamune said...

I'm fairly sure that most Americans would be pretty disappointed with a religious government. What with the slow degredation of personal freedoms and boredom of a society with only one religion. Chances are they'd also get annoyed that their scientific prowess get dimmed significantly, depending on how much interfering the government does.

Jim said...

You'd be amazed at how many Americans think that we already have a Christian government.

Magnamune said...

I doubt I'd be surprised. It's more than likely I overestimate the number. I suspect I'd be surprised as to the general ignorance of the public... In the bible belt, at least.

Lance said...

You would be surprised at the total ignorance in the bible belt. I should know, I live there. And am atheist. So basically I AM the devil incarnate. But that's not what this is about. This is about the ignorance there. How about this:

Thats just one thing that they're trying to do. They've also tried to put in bills that atheists should have less rights, etc, etc. It's very insulting. There are some times I love living in America, but other times, not so much. Like when over 50% of the public won't pick a person for president because they're atheist, or when the president says that atheists aren't patriots. Might be time to move to Canada so I don't have to endure being called a heathen every other day...

Magnamune said...

That... That's terrible. And completely moronic. Richard Dawkins is the man who sparked my interest in evolutionary biology, though I feel lucky to have been raised atheist. Trying to ban him from speaking is, obviously, a denial of free speech. Damn bible belt ignorami.

Anonymous said...

If any ignoramus tries to tell you that the United states was founded as a Christian country, refer them to the Constitution, Article VI, last sentence:

" religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Note that this predates the First Amendment.