I was watching CBS Sunday morning last week (one of my favorite TV programs) and this particular segment on organized religion caught my attention.
Sometimes, I’m amazed at how many times we don’t think things through as a nation, as a people. As advanced and thirsty for knowledge as we can be in other areas such as technology and science, we seem to be willingly prehistoric, simple and horribly less evolved when it comes to the subject of faith and religion than any other.
This all tends to create a major cluster-fu#! of ideologies.
Take this shirt for instance. (pictured below) After the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, pictures like these flooded
Facebook and other social media timelines. Let’s break down the dialogue and see if it jives with anything more than an ideological and political smokescreen:
Dear God, Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?
Signed a concerned Student
Dear Concerned Student: I’m not allowed in schools.
This sort of message comes from the perspective of some Christians. It’s directly related to the Supreme Court’s Ruling in 1962 via the Establishment Clause of the Constitution that made it illegal for the government to endorse religious practices in public schools. Since that decision the cries have been frequently ongoing from the conservative right lamenting that this law is somehow an affront to God.
The two scenarios are as follows:
1) That this law literally takes God’s divine presence out of public schools.
2) That tragedies are God’s punishment to the law.
Let’s examine scenario #1: This is the message of the t-shirt. When I grew up in church I was taught that God was omnipotent. That God’s presence is everywhere in the earth and the universe for that matter. I was taught that the presence of God dwells not in buildings, but in the hearts of man. (Acts 7:48, Ephesians 3:17)
When I was in school, I prayed all the time. I prayed to pass a test that I studied hard for, (or didn’t). I prayed at lunchtime before consuming some of the worst foods that could be served to children. My faith in the Divine was always within me. There was no law that could ever legislate that away. And so it is today. If one honestly believes God to be all powerful, then to say God could literally be limited in some way by government is ridiculous. It’s impossible, illogical and totally antithetical to any form of sound teaching. I mean either God is or is not who those who follow God say God is. And if God is, then how in the hell can one keep God out of schools or any other place for that matter.
Banning public school endorsed religious expressions actually does more to protect students of faith. Seeing that not all Christian sects share the same specifics, how are children who aren’t raised Christian supposed to function healthily in a hostile Christian environment. Are Muslims or Hindu’s going to get to pray their way too without ridicule? (Well all know the answer to that!) And what about those whose parents don’t subscribe to prayer at all?
How can one expect to learn math and English if there is constant fighting about Muhammad vs. Jesus? Since we obviously can’t play fair and respect anyone else’s views, as far as the classroom goes I’d rather keep faith expressions where they belong, in the privacy of hearts, and minds.
The latest example of the 2nd scenario comes from James Dobson who said that the shooting was a result of God’s judgment or revenge against the nation for allowing gay marriage and abortion.
There are so many things wrong with this kind of rhetoric. It bastardizes the hurt of the families in Connecticut. Dobson is doing what others like Pat Robertson have done for decades. Blaming high profile crimes and natural disasters on God’s so called hate of ‘fags’ and a nation that has turned it’s proverbial back on God. Its ignorant and blasphemous! These false “profits” (yes I spelled it correctly) are in effect blaming God for evil; for slaying adults and children as some sort of payback. Dobson is making himself out as God’s henchman. Like a gangster movie where the muscle comes to extort the local business owner. “The boss says if you don’t pay him his cut, well, I hope you have fire insurance.”
This is part of the reason why there are so many of the so called nones in the nation today as illustrated in the CBS piece. People have grown tired and irritated of religious zealots with these hair brained ideas about who and what God is. To these idiots, God is a finger waging children slaying gladiator out to uphold all things politically conservative. These same ‘profits of rage’ never speak of hunger, poverty, racism, classism, racial injustices, cheating and lying preachers as reasons for ‘god’s punishment.’
If their theologies were true of God’s punishment of America, there wouldn’t be a nation on earth that doesn’t proclaim to be a Christian one in existence today. Their God would have already destroyed them. That would include Israel in that they don’t believe Jesus is The Messiah.
Religion: The Enemy of Faith
These religious wars have always been around and will always be. Unfortunately faith and relationship with The Divine has gotten a bad name.
I have faith in The Divine. I believe that I am an extension of The Divine. I believe I have been created, that I have a purpose in this life and what I do, and how I relate to others who were created by The Divine matters.
My mother is a great woman of faith. She will swear that who and what I am now is a direct result of years of nightly prayers for me. Who am I to argue with that?
I, and many people like myself are people of faith who don’t subscribe to the character of The Divine being defined for us by people whose ideology are so flawed that only their own arrogance keeps them from recognition. I support a faith that loves all of man kind. A faith that comforts the lonely, feeds the hungry and have compassion on the sick. I support a faith that protects, nurtures and trains children to inherit the next generation and take it as far as they can. I support a faith that loves justice and compassion equally; that explores the individual and the collective benefactors of the human and humanity. And I’m good with that.