This is in response to this article I posted on Facebook as well as some responses I got to posting it.
The article is available here: Two girls, mother killed over family video
What follows may sound offensive to some of my friends and family (and the occasional reader who stumbles into my little murky corner of the interwebs) but that’s not the goal of this rant. I just get a little prickly when I hear someone saying, for instance, that all Muslims are considered extreme or are brainwashed because of the actions of some Muslims, ignoring their own religion’s indoctrination of children and fundamentalistic nature. I get a bit ruffled when people can point a finger at all of Islam for each sick act performed by a Muslim, yet then dismiss the actions of members of their own flock who commit atrocious acts by using the No True Scotsman fallacy. All major organized religions seem to breed fundamentalism and all of them practice, albeit in different forms with different amounts of enthusiasm, some of the same activities: indoctrinating children while they’re still malleable and easy to ‘train’; teaching intolerance to other religions, other sexualities, other races; rejecting rationality and considering questioning and free thought a sin.
From where I’m standing I would say the same thing about pretty much every major religion; they are all indoctrinating and the fundamentalists are capable of violent and horrific acts which the moderates may condemn while continuing to support their respective organizations with money and time. I’m not saying any one religion is better or worse than another here. That’s a rant for another day. What I’m trying to say is that religious fundamentalists from any religion have a lot in common and we ignore those closest to use at our own peril.
Look at our own country. We currently have people in our government that spend their time arguing and trying to overturn Constitutional law instead of fixing what’s actually broken with our system. They want to rule on something that affects every citizen in this country be they Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh, atheist or any of a thousand other belief systems. They are not doing it for the will of the People but because of their own religious views. Their religion blinds them to society as a whole and they deify or just ignore those outside of their own special club. I call that a little extreme, too. I also feel that they are in the wrong profession. Maybe the priesthood or ranting on a soapbox wearing nothing but a ratty toga and flea-infested beard would be more fitting.
There’s an often ill-attributed quote that I love which describes our elected officials perfectly: “When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn’t put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”
Congressmen and Senators are wasting valuable time fighting Roe Vs. Wade or gay marriage or any of a plethora of faith-based battles. Meanwhile our economy and job market are in shambles and Americans go hungry or even starve every night. Soldiers still die, fighting an illegal war thousands of miles from home. Bridges collapse because feeding the Oligarchy is more important than building the infrastructure of America’s own untouchable castes – the poor and middle class. These people do not act Christian except for when they try to shove some edict down the throats of those underneath them. These elected officials try to use the facade of “god’s will” to gain the power to force other people to follow their religious views through force of law instead of through their own faith. Meanwhile, they seem to be ignoring the “great book” they supposedly follow (to the letter) by abasing the poor and middle class, having affairs, accumulating great wealth and power and ignoring the simplest of the parables that even their own small, indoctrinated children know by heart.
They are no better to me than any other misguided fanatic who hides his own sickness, greed, pride, sexual frustration and lust for power behind a thousands of years old book.
It doesn’t end with them, either. I drive a bit south and enter a land of Jesus graffiti and huge billboards with horrific and frightening messages about god and his hatred of abortion and atheists and free thought. Being a Christian in the land of fundamentalism might be a bit weird, but being an atheist driving through an area of concentrated Christian Fundamentalism (like when I drove through southern Ohio, Pennsylvania and parts of West Virginia) makes me very weird, like I’m wearing a black hat and a warty nose while carting through Salem in the late 1600s. Then again, a more modern analogy might be better. Perhaps it’s what it might have felt like strolling through Iran in the late 70s while wearing a crucifix and carrying a Bible.