I just revisited the Blog Against Theocracy site and realized it says that no posts will be accepted after April 5th. Unfortunately I was unable to get to writing about this important subject until today. I will try to link to it anyway.
As some of you know, I have become the caretaker of my 91-year-old mother, Marge. She's a great lady and is doing much better since she's been home rather than in an instutional setting. However, her frailty does make her care a fairly time-consuming and and relatively exhausting job. Thank goodness for the aides that come to keep an eye on her at night. During the day she is pretty with-it and we have a good time chatting. Her sense of humor is still there and we are doing well. But it doesn't allow me much time or energy to blog.
Where shall I begin about the issue of theocracy in this country? I've written about this before but it seems as if the situation is getting worse. What with the Texas School Board trying to change the textbooks to go along with their version of reality, which is based on religious beliefs rather than science, and those who refuse to vote for the health care bill if the insurance companies cover abortion, "theocracy" is everywhere these days. Where do people get the nerve to say they won't let their taxes fund an abortion paid for through a private insurance company? After all, my taxes pay for wars, and I don't believe in them either. If everyone got to choose exactly what their taxes pay for I don't think much would get done.
We have moved from the silliness of lawsuits over whether or not to allow religious statues on public property or plaques of the Ten Commandments to be displayed in front of a town hall, to more important issues. Now it's coming down to whether our children will be educated properly or not; it's come down to arguing over what someone's taxes cover or not. The religious people in this country are overwhelming the secular side of our society.
What really gets me is, it is the Christians, who outnumber any other religion in this country by a huge majority, that claim their rights are being trampled every time something isn't done their way. They don't understand that freedom of speech and religion means that you are free to practice your own religion without infringement. It does not mean that you have the right to force YOUR religion on other people.
The whole issue of gay marriage is a good example of why we need separation of church and state. There is no logical reason why gay couples shouldn't benefit from the blessings of the government in terms of joint property, laws of inheritance, visiting privileges at hospitals, and all of the other rights that heterosexual married couples take for granted.
The only reason to deny same-sex couples these rights is found in the Bible, where believers claim that "God" doesn't approve of same-sex couples. This is a religious context, not a civic context.
The solution would be to allow any couple of consenting adults to marry in a civic ceremony. If religion comes into it, then they are welcome to also be married in the church of their choice. Some churches may choose to marry same-sex couples, some may not. But that is a private, religious context. The civic context should not be consigned to the same rules.
Interestingly, just today I had a chat with one of my mother's aides who comes in to help out for two hours twice a week. She is of Mexican descent and I had assumed she was Catholic. However, we got into a discussion of religion and it turned out she had been "saved" in a Protestant religion in 2001 before 9/11. As a result, she believes the Bible is the word of God and everything in it is true.
She brought up the idea of gay marriage and I said I was in favor of it since I believe God would want people who love each other to be able to pledge their lives to each other. She said that the Bible doesn't allow for that, it's not natural and that with God, all things are possible, so anyone who is gay could change if they believed.
Naturally I didn't get into a big argument about this (I do need her to take care of my mother), but it made me think. There are a lot of people out there who really believe that the Bible actually is the word-for-word "Word of God" and because of that they are willing to consign a whole group of people to second-class status. If these people continue to gain power in our government and our civic organizations such as school boards, our country is going to fall further and further behind, what with rejecting evolution, believing gay people are "unnatural" and many other beliefs that are not consistent with science or good sense.
Organized religion in general has a tendency to become corrupt, or at the very least, the participants tend to protect the organization rather than the beliefs on which it is founded. Look at the scandals in the Catholic Church. I'm sure none of those in charge feel good about the terrible things that some priests have done to young children. But rather than expose those priests and the church to public scrutiny, they hid this behavior and just transferred the priests elsewhere. As a result, there is now a sitting Pope who may have conspired in this cover-up and the church is in crisis.
If even a church cannot stay pure, how could incorporating religion into government have any better result?