1.30.2006

Welcome to the Theocracy

The Nebraska State Paper reports on a pre-session prayer offered up by The Reverend Tom Swartly in The Unicameral Chamber. To its credit, the State Paper had this to say about it.

"Swartley was invited to the Unicameral to offer a nonpolitical, nondenominational prayer in the legislative chamber. He knew he was supposed to avoid topics that could be construed as political. That is the rule imposed on all clergy invited to offer prayers prior to the Legislature's official convening each day.

The preacher from the First Christian Church in Elk Creek promptly showed himself to be a guileful, calculating, political agent, willing to abuse the trust of his host to do his religious politicking under a false flag."

A few choice quotes:

"Almighty God, we come humbly into your presence this morning, seeking your favor.

[...]

Open our eyes to the other aspects of this 33-year-long bloody nightmare. Open our eyes to see that we've killed 47 million young American taxpayers, and indeed Social Security is in crisis. Open our eyes to see that 47 million of our countrymen are gone - doctors, lawyers, inventors, authors, musicians and artists. Forgive us, oh God, and open our eyes and change our path. Comfort the mothers and fathers who have great wonder and regret. Heal us, oh God.

[...]

Forgive us also, Lord, for the teaching of the religion of evolution to our young citizens, a religion that tells us that we are only here by chance; that we are here for no reason and human life means nothing more than any other life; that we will never face a Judgment Day. We've put our children into the same category as other mammals, and we wonder why sometimes they act like animals. Forgive us for sowing the seeds of anarchy in the hearts of children."


Just one example of what Jerry Falwell has begun calling Assault Ministry. (Check out the MSNBC article here.) I'll be perfectly honest. This stuff scares the shit out of me.

This blog has always seemed to end up coming back around to religion as a topic. It seems that I always come down strongly against religion. This is unfortunate.

Religion can be a great force for love, understanding, respect, and humanity in the world. This, perhaps, is the reason I find the current Religious Right so abhorrent. They fail to reflect their religion, Christianity, and instead use it as a shield for nefarious power-grabs and as a club to assault those who they dislike or those who disagree. The effort to ban same sex marriage (which will be coming up in the Senate again) has very little to do with marriage. The government wasn't going to force churches that disapprove of same sex marriage to perform ceremonies, it was simply allowing two people who love each other the same benefits, such as inheritance, visiting rights, and health coverage, that married couples receive. The effort was about divisiveness, just like laws against interracial marriage.

When I was growing up, I remember Pastor Ciampa, who I have a great respect for, giving a sermon on the dangers of becoming a proud Christian.

The reason I find the Christianist Right in this country so frightening is that they do not think. I mean that literally. They believe. It isn't their belief in God or Jesus, or even the coming of Judgment Day that frightens me, though. This country has long had a vast majority that believes in all of those things. My problem is that they believe that their leaders are infallible profits sent by God. They do not question the authorities within their own organizations. Any person who who claims to be a Christian (::Cough::) is instantly beyond reproach or question even while their actions are as far from Christian as humanly possible.

These people will tell you that "homosexuality is a sin before God" until they're blue in the face, but couldn't tell you where to find scripture to defend that position. They just know somebody 'that would know' told them it was, and that's good enough for them. They'll probably swear that Jesus spent more time preaching the evils of homosexuality and said little to nothing about the dangers of being rich and the importance of helping the poor and disadvantaged.

Most people tend to find a middle ground when left to their own experiences. Insulary religions that close people to the world and seek to control a person's ability to find a personal understanding of spirituality are fundamentally dangerous.

My brother dated a girl for about two years that was very conservative. (My brother is more conservative than I am.) She had been raised by a very conservative family that attended a church much more conservative than my own. She spent a semester in Chile and my brother went to visit her at the end of her trip. He remarked that she had 'become a lot less conservative.'


My problem is not with religion, it's with the blind followers it tends to create. Leaders like Rev. Swartly do no service for our country or for his congregation. He doesn't inspire thoughtfulness or soul-searching. His message is not one that empowers people to consider these issues for themselves.

1 comment:

Minvincible said...
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