I am very much ill at ease with the religious direction the West is taking, predominantly the USA towards a religious based society.
Every time President George W Bush invokes the name of God in his speeches, or in off the cuff comments, I cringe. The US Founding Fathers and Framers of their Constitution had the incredible good sense to separate Church from State.
President George W Bush would do very well to remember that.
Nothing on this planet has been more divisive, damaging and damning than the toxic mix of religion and politics.
If we want a real honest-to-goodness example of the consequences of religion in a political system, one only has to look at the Arab Middle East, and virtually every other failed state where religion plays an active role in the politics of society.
I won’t list the litany of Church, religion and related horrors that has plagued humankind throughout our history, since the list would take longer for me to relate, than I have time in my life to live. It is that long.
I don’t question the beliefs of people, or the way they practice those beliefs as long as the following criteria are met:
1) The religious belief causes no harm.
2) The Religious belief is not imposed.
3) The religious beliefs of anyone should in no way ever inconvenience the beliefs of others.
4) Religious beliefs should never have access to political doctrine, anymore than any other non privileged special interest group.
5) And as a “business”, religious organizations should be taxed like all other businesses.
All of that said; I believe we are currently in a life and death struggle between Secular and Religious fundamentalist philosophies that is sucking all of us in, whether we want to get involved or not.
The obvious battle to most observers is between Islam and the combination of Judaism and Christianity: but that’s not the “war”. It is only a side-show between Secular and Religious beliefs amongst our own.
The Islamic fundamentalists, such as those who follow the Saudi based doctrine of Wahhabism, have killed, tortured, maimed and destroyed more Islamists than they have ever harmed non Moslems.
Their greatest concern is about how Islam is practised amongst their own. They will deal with the Infidels later. That is not to say, that they are not a REAL threat which we must be prepared to deal with NOW.
However; I am just as worried about a declining worldwide Church movement, which is attempting a comeback.
This past summer has seen phenomenal strides made by the Gay and Lesbian communities toward being recognized as equal citizens in their right to marry. And this is making many people very nervous. Especially the Church.
I do not subscribe to the Gay and Lesbian lifestyle. But I don’t have to. It’s not my business. Just as what two consenting Heterosexuals do in the privacy of their lives, is not my business either.
If two Gay men, or two Lesbians want to be formally married by the state, that too is their business. And not mine. Why shouldn’t they have the same right to benefit from a Gay or Lesbian union called marriage as do Heterosexuals?
If the Church is against such a union, they don’t have to marry two men or two women. And they don’t even have to recognize the marriage as a “religious” right. That’s the Church’s business.
But what the state decides, is another matter entirely, of which the Church is entitled to an opinion. But not more.
I’ve been told that marriage between Gays and Lesbians can divide and harm the Church. Yes it can. And if this does the Church in – so be it.
The Church can divide itself into a thousand pieces if it is so inclined, choosing which social rights it will accept, and which it will reject. This is how any normal organization grows and matures.
The Church should be no different. If there is real strength and commitment and faith as the Church leaders want everyone to believe there is, they will weather the storm.
If not . . . than this debate over Gay and Lesbian rights is nothing more than just the tip of the iceberg to a wholesale reevaluation of the Church by its parishioners.
In conversation with some good friends over supper the other night, we discussed whether Homosexuality is a genetic trait, or an acquired trait, or both. And then it struck me. What’s the difference?
What difference does it make if someone wants to be Gay, or if someone was born Gay? In the end, it’s their choice. And their choice alone.
I have heard it said by some prominent politicians, including Canadian politicians, that marriage must only be accorded to Heterosexuals who join together to procreate.
Anne and I have been married for more than 30 years. We married with the clear understanding that we would NOT have children. We have been loyal to each other from the moment we met. And we’ll be together until death do us part.
Yet; according to many politicians and the Church, we have no right to be married since we NEVER intended to have children. But; our marriage is full.
We are madly in love with each other. We work together in the same business. We share the same life values. And we argue over many issues which we see in different lights, just like any thinking people do. And in spite of our occasional disagreements, we are as committed to our relationship and marriage as any two people can be.
It bothered me to no end, when I heard the Pope order Catholic politicians worldwide to vote against Gay and Lesbian marriages or unions. To him, this lifestyle is an aberration and an insult to God.
The Pope has every right to his opinion. He even has the right to order Catholic politicians to vote as he wishes. But; the politicians better decide if they are the representatives of the people, or the ministers of the Catholic Church.
If any of our politicians are going to obey the orders of their religious leader(s), opposed to the secular values of equality, everyone should know it. And this should become a focus of their next campaign to win office.
Are the politicians here to serve the Church or the people? It’s as simple as that.
It’s too bad the Pope doesn’t take as much of a public interest in the many horrific sexual abuses heaped upon children by his own priests, as he does against the freedom of two consenting same sex adults to join in marriage.
I am worried about the influence of Church in matters of state from all religions. It just isn’t healthy. And if there is a God, I am certain that He or She would not want mortals passing judgement on the freedom of the lifestyles of His or Her creation in His or Her name.
And that’s the way it should be.