Tag Archives: religion

Marriage Equality and Religious Bigotry

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Religious bigots who are against marriage equality often cite the Bible as their objection. One of their main verses to recite is 1 Corinthians 6:9 (kind of ironic chapter and verse right there, huh? lol).

But let’s take a look at it.

9Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God

So if this is one of the verses that is used to oppose marriage equality (and homosexuality in general) then why aren’t they opposed to fornicators, idolators or thieves getting married? Why aren’t they protesting adulterers, swindlers, and drunkards getting married?

Since when did homosexuality become the “unforgivable sin”?

Recent polls show that 58% of Americans (at least) support marriage equality. 76% of Americans identify as Christian. Those numbers are definitely bound to cross over. Even if the 24% of the population which is not Christian supports marriage equality, that would mean at least 34% of American Christians support it also. It’s time for people to stop using their Bronze Age book of mythology to oppose the rights and freedoms of others.

During slavery times in America, slaves were not permitted to marry. They were only allowed to have “civil unions.” Sound familiar? And at one point in time in America it was illegal in many states for inter-racial couples to get married.

What side of history will people be on when all is said and done on this matter? Religion-based bigotry has to be stopped!

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The Problem of Religion in Politics

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The problem with religion in politics is this: You have pastors nationwide preaching things from the pulpit that aren’t necessarily true about politics. And they have congregations who blindly eat up anything they say. They accept what they say as “gospel truth” no matter what. Rarely do they look up the things they are told. They trust their pastors. So if their Pastors say, during the reign of Emperor George II, that the war in Iraq was caused by the god of the Bible to get the Gospel into that area (like was said by a former Pastor of mine to us one morning), or if some Right-wing nutcase Pastor says that Obamacare is going to exterminate the elderly (http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/klingenschmitt-obamacare-will-exterminate-elderly-systematically), they blindly accept it!

This is dangerous! That’s why the Founding Fathers created America to be a secular Republic and not a Christian theocracy. They had just fled a country, England, that had a state-sponsored religion. This is why they promoted a Separation of Church and State, a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter in 1802. This is why the US Senate ratified the Treaty of Tripoli which states “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” unanimously in 1797. This is why there is no mention of God, Jesus, Christianity, or the Bible in the Constitution. This is why we have a secular Constitution and not merely the Bible as our Constitution.

They founded America as a place where people can have the freedom to practice religion or not practice it. But that’s also why it was intended by them for religion to be separate from government. Religion was to be a private matter.

This is why “under god” was not included in the original pledge of allegiance. This is why “In god we trust” was not originally on our curency. This is why “In god we trust” was not our original national motto; it was “E. pluribus unum (out of many, one).” The original intent for this country was a melting pot, a unified plurality. Not a Christian theocracy.

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Is agnosticism “atheism lite”?

This question was posed on a friend’s page on Facebook this morning. My response to the question, “Is agnosticism ‘atheism lite’?” is this:

Most atheists also claim to be agnostic meaning they don’t know if there is a god or not. No one knows for certain if there is a god or not, including the most devout Christian (or any religious group) despite how much they will lie and claim that they know their god is real.

Everyone, atheist or theist, is agnostic. The thing is, though, the atheist goes one step further and takes the definitive stance that, based on the lack of evidence and the improbability of the existence of any deities, we do not believe in any of the thousands of deities that mankind has worshipped over the course of time. The problem is some people, of both atheist and theist persuasion, have falsely defined atheism as “Knowing there are no gods that exist.”

So, when someone claims to be just an agnostic, they are basically sitting on the fence and refusing to really take a position on whether they believe in a deity or not. Saying you are agnostic really means nothing. When someone tells me they are an agnostic, the follow-up question should always be, “But do you believe any gods exist?” If no, then you are an agnostic atheist. If yes, then you are an agnostic theist.

What I think a lot of self-described agnostics are trying to do is take a position where they feel superior to both groups. I’ve seen it a lot. Agnostics who show up on an internet site talking about, “I’m an agnostic but I think hardcore atheists are just as bad as hardcore Christians.” or some variation thereof.

So, to answer the original question, no, agnosticism is not “atheism lite.”

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America’s Constant Violation of the Separation of Church and State

In Steubenville, Ohio, a city in my area of the Northern Ohio Valley, there’s a Constitutional issue taking place. The City of Steubenville, had a new logo designed. The logo contains the silhouettes of three city landmarks: Fort Steuben, the new bridge, and the St. Franciscan University chapel. Now, for those who don’t know, Steubenville is very famous for the university. People from all over the country come to Steubenville to go to the university.

The problem with the inclusion of the chapel is that it also contains the Christian cross on it. Inclusion of any religion in a city logo is clearly a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution. So, someone from the city of Steubenville chose to remain anonymous and contacted the Freedom from Religion foundation and informed them of the violation. The FFRF swooped down on Steubenville and told them to remove the cross and chapel from the logo or they would file a lawsuit. The City did so, but then people from the Northern Ohio Valley area took up the cause and are trying to convince the city to leave it in. Supporters of the logo are now painting this as a fight for religious freedom (which, in my view, further illustrates why the chapel and cross should not be included in the logo. They are proving that the inclusion of the cross has everything to do with religion, and not with it being a city landmark like they were initially claiming.)

The supporters of the chapel and cross being included in the logo as a city landmark may have had a leg to stand, initially, if not for the fact that after the City pulled the logo, they approached the University and asked them if they wanted a different university building included in the logo. That way the logo would be religion-free and St. Franciscan could still be represented as a city landmark. The University refused! (http://www.franciscan.edu/News/2012/Statement-on-Change-to-City-Logo/) Clearly, they didn’t care to have their university included. They wanted their religion included!

So how can people argue that the inclusion of the chapel and cross has nothing to do with religion or placing one religion above another? The chapel itself is called “Christ the King Chapel.” There’s no way around it. A city placing one specific religion over all others, or representing only one religion in a city logo, violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. When people look at the Steubenville city logo as intended, it sends a clear message: “This city welcomes all Christians. Everyone else? Sucks to be you. Steubenville is a Christian city.” If the city does not intend to spread this message, then they have no choice but to remove the chapel from the logo and replace it with something else. If St. Franciscan decides to pout and throw a temper tantrum and not use a different university building, then that’s their choice. St. Franciscan is a university and that’s why it was chosen to be included. They are not a Church, no matter how much the Catholic Church runs them and influences their policy. Their religion shall not influence local government.

This brings us to a larger problem, though. America’s constant violation of the separation of Church and State.  Examples of which are America adding “under god” to our pledge (which was originally written by  Christian socialist Francis Bellamy in 1892 sans the phrase) to combat the scourge of the “godless Communists,” and adopting “In god we trust” as our national motto and including it on our money.

America was created by our founding fathers to be a safe haven from a religion-controlled government like the one they fled in England. The First Amendment, clearly the most important one to them, hence why they made it the very first one, protects the people from both a State-sponsored religion, and from the State governing religion. Unfortunately, over the past few hundred years, the extremely religious have tried to hijack the Constitution and distort it and turn America into a Christian theocracy, even to the point where the Religious Right claim that America was founded as  a Christian nation, which is a completely fallacious charge and illustrates that they don’t know American history, or they merely choose to distort it.

America is not and never was a Christian nation. The Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified unanimously and signed by President John Adams in 1797, states,

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” [Emphasis mine]

Furthermore, the Constitution says that the Government cannot pass a law regarding an establishment of religion. That’s the establishment clause of the First Amendment. That means that one religion cannot be established above all others by the government in any way, shape, or form. Or, as Thomas Jefferson put it, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their “legislature” should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” [Emphasis mine]

That clarifies it completely. Jefferson, a founding father, and the Constitituion are saying government, the state, should in no way be involved in religion. There should be no religion in government and no government in religion. That’s why things like “under god” in our pledge (which wasn’t in the original pledge, and wasn’t added until 1954) and “In god we trust” were not part of the vision of the founding fathers. If the founding father’s wanted “in god we trust” to be our national motto, they would have made it so. They didn’t. Our original national motto was “E. pluribus unum” or “Out of many, one.” Their vision for America was one of unity. Not one of religion. If they were alive today they would be shaking their head at this madness of religious nonsense in government.

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