Friday, December 30, 2011

What's So Bad About Being "Godless"?

This is more of a rant, so be warned:

I saw an article about abortion (the details don't matter in this context, suffice to say it was about abortion).  I skimmed the article.  Given the state of American journalism today (bought and paid for by corporate interests), there's not much point in buying into what you read in the news.  I skimmed down to the comments section - this, to me, is the real meat and potatoes of the news: not the facts themselves, but how the facts are understood by the people.  You gotta love America.

Naturally, the comments section was full of indignant opinions, howling about the horrible state of the nation, that we would allow abortion at all.  You know, because life is precious or something.  I'm not saying life isn't good, but it seems to me that a nation dedicated to the concept of life being sacred wouldn't have spent as much money as we have on nuclear weaponry.  It seems like in a nation where life is supposed to be precious, the NRA would be considered a terrorist organization, akin with the Klan or jihadists.  In a nation where life is supposed to be precious, the death penalty would be rejected out of hand, regardless of the circumstances.  In a nation dedicated to the concept of life being sacred, war would be unheard of. 

But I digress.

One comment that stuck out to me was this person lamenting our "godlessness" as a nation.  My first reaction was "if you want to live in a nation where religion calls the shots, bop on over to Iran or Saudi Arabia.  They love that stuff there."

Yes, as a nation we are godless.  And that is not new.  It is not a liberal plot, foisted on an unsuspecting populace by sinister ACLU no-goodniks.  We are godless by design.  When the Constitution was written, great steps were taken to distance us from being affiliated with any one religion.  The framers of the Constitution, in an act of epic wisdom, understood that a theocratic state is not the path to freedom.  We are, as a nation, dedicated above all to the notion of freedom above all.  How many times have you heard the phrase "it's a free country"?  When it comes to religion, this is especially true.

You are free, as an individual, to make up your own mind about God.  Is there one?  What's God like?  Is God a "He" or a "She"?  Is there only one god?  Does God love you?  Does God hate anyone?  You're utterly free to call the shots, belief-wise.  No government agency can knock on your door to conduct inspections to make sure you've got the requisite Bibles, Qu'rans, Torahs or Pagan spellbooks handy.  You are not required to pray in public.  Similarly, if you choose to believe in any particular religion, you cannot be harrassed or jailed for it.  You have absolute autonomy over your own individual spiritual destiny here in America.  If there is a heaven and hell, they won't be checking your passports and directing you to one or the other based on your citizenship.

So yes, we are by definition a "godless nation".  And if you ask me, people damn well need to be reminded of it.  It's true, Christianity is the most commonly professed religion in America.  I say "professed" because it's easy to claim it, and it's understandable to want to fit in.  But based on how we treat the poor, the sick and the old in this country, based on our love affair with war and our tendencies to end half of our marriages in divorce, based on our obsession with money and materialism, I'd say the average American wouldn't know real Christianity if it bit them on the ass.

I've read history.  I've seen what religious fanatacism brings: crusades, witch trials, holy wars, genocide, persecutions, jihad, and so on.  Read the Malleus Maleficarum to get a sense of the joys of living in a church state.

So believe whatever you want about abortion.  I honestly don't care, because your beliefs don't apply to me.  It's the law applies to me, for as long as I choose to live here.  That's the beauty of living in a godless nation.  Your point of view, and the religion that precedes it have nothing to do with me.  I can pray to a different god (or none at all), believe something entirely different about abortion as a result and it doesn't affect your life in any way.  Out of respect for you and your likely different perspective, I'll do you the favor of keeping my views to myself and not insisting you abide by my god's laws. 

A godless nation does not mean that the population is all godless.  It just means that the government is, and the people have the right to be godless (or not) if they choose it with no penalties.  I say, hooray for godless nations, and the freedom they represent!  Hooray for my rights, and hooray for yours!

No comments: