Religion Redux, Part V

peaceSo.  Over the past four days, I have outlined my spiritual journey until this point in my life.   It hasn’t been easy, and I still struggle with my spirituality.

I have made my peace, for the most part, with Christianity.  I no longer hate God (with a capital G) or am mad at Him.  However, I am more than a bit concerned about his supposed followers.

First, a little musing.  We have spent the last eight years waging a war against terror.   We were told by the last president that al-Qaeda hated us for our freedoms.  They were the radical ones who believed the ends justified the means.  Whatever it took for them to get their seventy-two virgins in heaven (or whatever the number is these days) was fine.  They were the Taliban jihadists who would use any excuse to bomb the hell out of us.  They were evil, evil, evil you hear?  They must be eradicated.  And so, we tortured prisoners in order to force them to confirm what we thought we already knew–there was a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.  Then, we invaded Iraq.

So, wait a minute.  Cheney had an end goal of invading Iraq.  He manufactored evidence to give us an excuse to invade Iraq.  We invaded.  Thousands of American soldiers have died because of this.  What is so different in the two lines of thinking?  Granted, W. was the president, so we can’t let him off the hook, either.  Here are some of W.’s greatest hits concerning God, religion, and the role of the government when it comes to religion.

W. in explaining to Palestinan ministers why he invaded Afghanistan and Iraq:

I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, “George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.” And I did, and then God would tell me, “George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …” And I did. 

Also from W. to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister:

God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [Hussein], which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.

W. speaking about his support for faith-based programs:

What we are going to do in the second term is to make sure that the grant money is available for faith communities to bid on, to make sure these faith-based offices are staffed and open. But the key thing is, is that we do have the capacity to allow faith programs to access enormous sums of social service money, which I think is important.

There are more, but that’s the gist of his approach.  God told him to do things, so he did ’em.  He got ‘er done.  He didn’t allow for anyone to dissent with his opinion.  He pretty much had an end point in sight, and he didn’t much care how he got there.  In the wake of his decision, thousands of American soldiers have been killed, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, civilians included.

So, if we are going to be fair, let’s look at the Iraqi invasion from the Iraqi point of view.  Americans invaded their country under fictitious pretenses, killed thousands of their civilians, and basically strong-armed the strong man out of authority.  Then, a leader was chosen who is too weak to really be a leader.   Women still have shitty lives (if not shittier), and people are being driven out of Iraq in large numbers.  We are still mired in the muck there, our contractors have made an obscene amount of money off the invasion while our soldiers are struggling to just get the water they need to drink, and W. has the gall to say that God told him to invade Iraq?

Can you say, hypocrite, boys and girls?  Ooooh.  I just noticed that I had 666 words at the end of that last question.  Spooky!

Anyway, I just needed to get that out there before I returned to the more personal angle.  Why is religion taboo?  What I mean is, when someone tells you she is a Christian, there’s an underlying assumption then that she is not supposed to be questioned further about her beliefs.  For example, if I am talking with someone about gay marriage, if that person is a devout Christian, usually the defense against it is, “It’s a sin” or, “The Bible says it’s wrong.”  For that person, trotting out the Bible is her end point.  For me, it’s a non-starter.  I don’t believe in the Bible, so if her arguments are based on it, I don’t buy her arguments, either.  Yet, social etiquette frowns upon me pointing out this point to her.  Somehow, I am the rude one if I say that I don’t believe in the Bible.  Yet, we can’t have an honest discussion if I can’t make that simple statement.  

In addition, while a Christian like, say, Carrie Prejean can say whatever the fuck she wants on the stupid-ass Miss USA pageant, but, and listen very carefully Miss Implants because this is the important part, everyone else has the same right to say whatever they want about what she said.  Let’s put aside that the First Amendment was not protecting the rights of a beauty pageant to say what she wants on some soft-porn sleaze-fest.   Here is my point.  You can say pretty much the fuck whatever you want to say, as long as it’s not incendiary.  However, if I don’t like what you say, then I can fucking say that you’re a fucking idiot.  Otherwise, only you have free speech, and what the fuck good does that do me?

The only reason I care about Prejean is because of the hypocrisy of the whole thing.  She’s trying to paint herself as this moral, upright Christian (God talks to her, too, apparently) who is shocked that pics of her almost nude were leaked.  She is only for “opposite-sex” marriage because in her country, that’s what’s right.  But other people can choose differently.  Uh, in your “country” of California, Carrie, no, they cannot.  Your people voted against it, remember?  

In addition, she’s a contestant on a beauty show, for which she got implants–paid for by the people of her “country”.  This is obviously an embellishment on the body that God gave her–oh, hell.  Even I can’t spout that crap or keep up with the hypocrisy here.  The fact that she’s talking about gay marriage at all should be irrelevant, so I’m moving on.

Here’s the thing:  I don’t care what religion people are.  I really don’t.  If you want to worship at the altar of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then it’s fine by me.  The only time I do care is when your religion starts seeping into my life.  I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but our country’s forefathers believed in the separation of church and state.   The fundies would do well to remember that when they are pushing to enact all these damn laws that would foist their religious beliefs onto the rest of America.  

Hm.  Running long again.  Surprise, surprise.  This was a bit disjointed.  Sorry for that.   Join me for Part VI tomorrow.

9 Responses to Religion Redux, Part V

  1. Intriguing points. I will say that I’ve always had trouble with Bush’s approach to faith. Faith by itself doesn’t explain away all the decisions he made during his presidency. It’s got to be much more than that. I still remember the Vanity Fair profile on Bush way back in 2000 or so that spoke of the Bushs’ (H. W. and W.) love of policy or really, their lack thereof. Reading through extensive briefs, reports, or sitting through presentations was just not something that appealed to them. The “faith” perogative that W. Bush constantly spoke of was simply used as a crutch to get away from explaining how he arrived at his decisions. Far less work to say “driven with a mission from god” then to nuance out all the political, social, economic, or institutional reasons for arriving at a conclusion.

    As for the whole Miss USA thing, sorry but my eyes just glaze over whenever some annoying pop culture begins invading the airwaves. As if there aren’t events to report on in the US, there is also the rest of the world (pssst – which the US has been heavily involved in lately). I find it comical that people say that there isn’t enough to fill the 24 hour news cycle, especially since the news seems to ignore everything east of GMT -6 and south of 0 degrees latitude.

  2. And sorry to nitpick but as much disdain you may have for organized faith, I think you’ll at least respect the tradition of spelling enough to correct “religion” in your title.

    /snark

  3. Hi, The Cat Who Would Be Tunch! Good to see you, and how did you find me? It’s nice to “see” you on my blog–did you track me from Balloon Juice? Thank you for correcting my spelling in the title. I am embarrassed that I missed that. See what happens when I blog in a disoriented state?

    I agree with you that much of our pop culture is really wretched and should be ignored. If only the traditional media would understand that as well. However, the news is more into entertaining than informing, so I have stopped looking for any substance in any kind of news, really.

    As for W., well, no one ever said that thinking things through was his forte. He left that up to God and to Dick Cheney.

    Again, thanks for dropping in. Hope to see you again.

  4. Hi, whabs. Yeah, talking about religion gets me heated. I will be adding another entry today.

  5. I know, whabs. I saw it! I am honored, though concerned that I will not be able to keep up the “fuck” count. I am humbled by your earlier entry as well.

  6. I like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For one day, I too hope to be touched by his Great Noodly Appendage.

    Or maybe I’m just hungry for some spaghetti.

  7. Or maybe you’re just hungry for something else? Hi, Jim. Good to see you on my blog. Don’t be a stranger. Yes, the FSM seems to be the most benevolent god out there.