Friday, December 31, 2004

Religion has no place in Honest Political Discourse

It confuses the issues, mislabels participants and makes an honest exchange of ideas nearly impossible.

All political discourse should be conducted in a secular manner. Today, around the world, most free societies look at the US in the same way we look at radical Islamic countries. As an extremely religiously motivated society, occasionally dangerous (more so lately) who could lash out at any time against who knows who without warning. We are simply the other side of the same coin. If we could just do what the founders of this country intended and get the religion out of politics, we might get control of our government again and greatly improve our reputation around the world.

In case anyone’s forgotten, one of the main reasons the Pilgrims came to America was to free themselves from religious oppression by a government sanctioned church (The Church of England). This is why, in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, the founding fathers provided for the clear separation of church and state. They made it first because it was the most important. At the time they wrote it, it was based on 150 years of American tradition, born of the ideals the Pilgrims brought with them when they came. Then, religion was beginning to creep into the new government here. So, to stay the advance of something they had journeyed so far to be free from, the Constitution was amended. The following statement could not be any clearer or more binding.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” (religion has no business in government) ”or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (government has no business in religion); ………….” “Establishment” can be read as either something the government might create or as something the church might create. Either way, the government is forbidden from codifying or denying “establishment” (‘s) in any way. Since then, this conservative interpretation of the constitution has been upheld by The Supreme Court on numerous occasions over a period of more than 200 years. That’s over 350 years of history of Americans believing in a secular government. Yes, I know “God” appears in the constitution. That’s why it had to be amended, to clarify the founder’s intent.
The purely secular consideration of issues demanded by the First Amendment has been abandoned by most politicians in this country due to the acquiescence of government in the unconstitutional mixing of religion and politics. Politicians and ordinary people (you) who support one political position based on a moral or political principle commonly allow religion to twist and sometimes totally reverse their principles when evaluating another political position. Do you think you’re intellectually consistent when it comes to the purely secular politics that the Pilgrims, Founding Fathers and 350 years of tradition call for? If you are a Republican, are you really as “conservative” as you think? If you’re a Democrat, are you sure your views are largely “liberal”? Are you a “liberal” living in conservative denial? Does religion or your reaction to it distort your politics? Does religion cause some of us to fret over the shape of someone’s genitalia and use thereof? Let’s find out, shall we?
True conservatives believe in less or “hands off” government, right to privacy, balanced budgets and freedom of speech.
How many “conservative” Republicans out there feel that the choking hands of government regulation should be pulled free from the throats of corporations so that they can grow and prosper, make more money and more jobs, lift the entire economy as a whole, and raise the standard of living for each and every one of us? How many “conservative” Republicans out there feel that the heavy hand of government should be lifted from the backs of the common man in the form of tax cuts so that he or she can keep more money from the each paycheck spending it wherever they want instead of the government deciding where it should go? So then……, how come so many allegedly “conservative” Republicans keep trying to shove the controlling hand of government so far up a woman’s crotch it won’t actually fit? How come so many “conservative” Republicans are screaming bloody murder over the exquisitely conservative decision in Texas vs. Lawrence? A decision where the Supreme Court held that Mr. Lawrence and his lovers’ “right to privacy” outweighed the government’s desire to limit their right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? If Republican economic policy is so “conservative”, how come the economy goes down the crapper every time a Republican becomes President*? Wall Street types claim to favor conservatives in government yet a recent G.A.O. study shows that the stock market goes up 1.7 times as fast during Democratic administrations as it does during Republican administrations. Why? Because lately, Democrats have been the party of conservative economic policy and fiscal responsibility while Republicans have spent money like water from a fire hose.If the Republicans who are currently in charge of the government were really conservative they would balance the budget to insure our childrens’ futures, cut taxes on people who actually WORK for a living, get their noses out of gay men’s bedrooms and their hand out of my girlfriend’s cooch.
And you Democrats who think you’re so “liberal”, what’s so liberal about wanting government out of the abortion controversy? What’s so liberal about wanting all consenting adults to have a “right to privacy” to practice sex in any way they choose in their own homes? What is so “liberal” about wanting the Patriot act repealed when it’s main components restrict civil rights, violate “right to privacy” and put the government smack in the middle of our daily lives whether we want it or not? I’ll tell you what’s so “liberal” about these positions, NOTHING! These are conservative ideals that are being trampled on by today’s Republicans and championed by today’s Democrats. Theoretically, big government “liberals” should LOVE the Patriot Act! Why don’t they? It’s because on issues like these, you’re really conservative. Face it. You’re not quite as liberal as you thought you were, are you?
If you could actually take the religious component out of political discussions you might be able to have a sane airing of the issues. Most Republicans would find out that their position on abortion, gay sex and the Patriot act are liberal. “Liberals” on the other hand would be forced to admit that they are actually quite conservative on the same issues. Republicans who are true conservatives might say, “Damn, I don’t want to be a liberal on gay sex and abortion” and hopefully, change their views. “Liberals” capable of freeing themselves from “conservative” denial might say, “Damn, I guess I am conservative on these issues and would hopefully, still continue to try to change Republican minds (in spite of the fact they would be encouraging them to be more conservative). And in that moment of stark, secular, political clarity, viewed without the taint of religious prejudice, most Americans might find themselves on the same page when it comes to the two or three issues that currently tear this country in half.
And regarding what is currently the most controversial issue along these lines; Gay marriage. I always thought the A.C.L.U. was a purely secular organization. Their stand in favor of government sanctioned Gay marriage is about as far from their founding principals as it could be. Federal laws, according to the First Amendment, cannot legally contain the word marriage. Marriage is a religious “establishment” (there’s that word again) that over the years has been codified by government in clear violation of the Constitution. The A.C.L.U. should be arguing for the repeal of ALL FEDERAL LAWS relating to marriage and fight for “Equal Protection” of all individuals regardless of living arrangement. The A.C.L.U. did not respond to the Austin Dazes’ inquiries on this issue.
Religious prejudice is the cause of almost all wars, discrimination and persecution, not to mention the lack of intellectual consistency in American politics. No wonder we can’t see each others’ views clearly. Most of us can’t even see our own views for what they really are. And isn’t it a bit curious that religion only effects political issues related to someone’s genitalia? I thought you extremely religious types lived your lives in sexual denial. Why do you insist on shoving your genital preferences down the rest of our throats? Anyone who takes a look around the world with open eyes can see that religion, whether fact or fantasy, causes almost all human strife. Religion has no place in government, unless of course your motivation is to corrupt politics and give sanction to human strife.
I am not confused by religion or its practice. I am a conservative. I believe in conservative principals unaffected by the twisted logic of religion. These religiously untainted conservative political principals cause me to support ‘privacy rights’ like gay rights, reproductive rights and to oppose the Patriot Act. My economically conservative principals demand pay as you go budgeting, less income taxes for those who need all their income and more consumption taxes for those who don’t. My socially conservative principals guide me to help the truly disadvantaged and to let those who choose to be losers, lose. A conservative believes in less gun control. Sorry to those of you I just lost, but the Second Amendment is as clear as the First.
If we don’t get back to the secular government our forefathers intended soon, God help us!
JBlunt Austin, TX