Sunday, April 5, 2015
This article is in response to the recent law in Indiana that incited a pizza place to lash out at the idea of a homosexual wedding. And as the Right-wing Conservatives say in politics (the ones overwhelmingly supported by Religious Fundamentalists), the free market will decide. Well, it did. Social media was ablaze with reactions from people responding to the bigoted statement of the pizza place owners. The actions of the owners has come full circle and started affecting their sales and profits. So what happens next? Religious fundamentalists across the country donate almost a million dollars to that family. This all in a time where food banks for the poor are begging for donations and have nothing to offer the actual people in need.
In order to wrap my head around this, I have to break down the elements. This all stems from an idea of a “Freedom of Religion”, which is a false understanding of our constitution. The First Amendment opens with, “The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion…”, it continues with freedom of speech and the press and so forth, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just stick with the sections about religion. So, Indiana’s law is unconstitutional, for it is a law respecting the establishment of religion. Period. There is nothing that impedes anyone’s freedom to exercise their religion by living with homosexuals… or does it?
This brings me to the next step in my argument. In response to the overwhelmingly high dollar amount of donations to the bigoted pizza owners, they stated, “God has blessed them for standing up for what they believe and not denying him”. This, I think, is the key to understanding religion in our modern culture. Here’s the hypothesis: our modern culture cannot understand religion. We are living in a world where we are learning to embrace all kinds of people and ideas. Sure, we are learning slowly. But some of us are trying to learn quicker, and trying to understand the things that are not easy to understand. Religion eliminates that journey to understand. It basically says, there is ONE way and all other ways are WRONG. Even when those ways are clearly observed and proven possible. So, they are only having conviction when it suits them or seems convenient. All while, stating superiority and starting conflict where there does not need to be one (something that God in the Bible has professed to hate ~ Proverbs 6:16-19). These are prehistoric mindsets where the idea that “My God is better than your God” is so simple and childish, and just not practical for dealing with real life. But the attitude is; ‘God has blessed them for standing up for their beliefs’. Does that imply that God is not looking out for those who don’t share those beliefs? In a time where the top three Gods from the top three faiths are all at odds with each other; is the idea that 'one of them is right and the others are wrong', an idea that should continue in this modern world? Because, If you have 100% conviction, you have to believe that.
I know that this article may be insulting to some for challenging faith, so this part may get worse. I have always found religious fundamentalism rather ridiculous. It doesn’t help you work through your real problems in everyday life; it does not strip away the barriers between people and really connect them to other human beings, unconditionally; and it is not teaching society to become better. In my opinion, history has shown it is doing the opposite. For instance, Louisiana doesn’t believe in sex education. It’s just abstinence-only education, which some can argue is not education, and they’d be right. Louisiana has the 6th highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. So it’s not about educating our children. Also, the environment does not seem to be an issue for Conservative Christians. If you are waiting for a better afterlife, then what’s to keep you caring for this one? War seems to be the go to answer for most religious politicians. And the way we treat animals?! By their own words, the Lord has given them dominion over the animal kingdom. We are supposed to be caretakers of this Earth. We should be ashamed to be a country that treats animals with such cruelty and lack of concern. Truly some of the most egregious standards, and in response, I see no picketing protests. Speaking of protests, In Las Vegas, on any given night you can see religious extremists spouting hate speech against the LGBT community because it’s their idea of a fun thing to do. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is one of the largest purveyors of shellfish in the area, yet no protests. The Bible mentions shellfish as a sin many more times than homosexuality. Also, there is adultery, divorce, and even pedophilia coming from the institution itself and it finds no wrong in that. There is no public stoning, money and religion are becoming synonymous, and no one cares for the poor. So where is the conviction? Answer… There isn’t any. If these institutions and the people who followed them had conviction, we would all see how ridiculous it all is. The only groups that act as their religion commands with no compromise are the Muslim Extremists terrorizing the whole Middle East. These groups are fundamentalist extremists that all rational people see as crazy, and are in fact following their thousand-year-old, archaic teachings. If the Christians of this country acted with the conviction they pretend to have, and without compromise, then the rest of us rational Americans would be able to see it and those that follow it as being equally ridiculous. And if we looked at all religious fundamentalists the way we look at those that follow ISIS, we may get some headway on educating our children, caring for the poor and elderly, and cleaning this earth so we can move on to the next stage of society that we are supposed to achieve as human beings.
Let me also say, that there are many people who follow any given religion and are exceptional people. I am only calling out Christianity because many in this country seem to think that the United States is a Christian nation and that this country was founded on that faith. That could not be further from the truth, and it is a misconception I want to erase. Whatever you need to believe to be happy is your choice, but let’s not rob the freedom of other people, especially while you really don’t have 100% conviction. Religion or spirituality is something that you personally feel in your heart and something that no one can take that away. So let people find it in their heart for themselves, not from laws down or popular suggestion. If we move past all this, I believe we will be a happier Earth.