I was fortunate enough, in my myriad wanderings through this world wide web, to come across something that’s going on this Easter weekend, which is Blog Against Theocracy.
So, I’m writing an entry for it, because I’m anti-theocracy, which doesn’t necessarily mean anti-religious, but I am also anti-religious. I am not, however, against believing in God, or being spiritual, but I have a real problem with the political power structure that envelopes most organized religions.
I feel that religions take advantage of people who are at their most vulnerable, people who are scared, lonely, facing death, grieving, or simply at a loss as to the meaning of life. These are serious, debilitating issues that everyone faces and religion offers an easy fix for them. “Don’t fear being alone, Jesus loves you; don’t fear death, for you will go to heaven, and so will the loved ones you’ve lost. Also, could you please donate a tenth of your net worth so that we can proselytize to help other weak and pathetic people in need and use that money to take advantage of politicians and control the government protect your interests.”
It’s incredibly difficult to live in this country without religious support. Nothing in the country offers anything like the instant support, acceptance, friendship and network that religion does. Most fraternities and sororities, the boy scouts, 12 step programs, many summer camps, many schools, and the pledge of allegiance (since 1954) all demand your belief in a higher power. I live alone in Los Angeles, I don’t have a lot of friends, I don’t have a support network. I am incredibly vulnerable to the appeal of joining a church or synagogue. I mean, I’m in the entertainment industry, and I’m not Jewish or a Scientologist, how am I ever going to make it?
Religions are a power structure. They are cults, they offer you the chance to fit in with a group, to be supported by the group, so long as you toe the line. You get pressured into supporting irrational ideas, financially and politically. You get put on the ground to do things that no sane person would do on their own. They are incredibly political groups that are about self-promotion, self-protection, and getting away with as much as they can.
Who, in their right mind, would go to someone’s funeral to say that that person deserved it, were they not egged on by a group of supporters? Who would refuse their child medical care were they not part of a group that demanded it? Who would feel obligated to murder people who had harmed no one if it weren’t for religion? Who would attack or murder a woman seeking an abortion without even asking her why she was doing it? Who would refuse two people legal protection of the state, if it weren’t for their small-minded, 2000 year old book? We’re not talking about isolated incidents, we’re talking about things that happen every day, throughout the country, and all over the world.
The founders were incredibly insightful, separating Church from State, but the problem is that churches are allowed to be states of their own. They are impenetrable, untaxable, untouchable by the state. Do I think that churches should be run by the state, no, but I also don’t think they should be above and outside the law. I don’t think they should be allowed to be engaged in politics and spend millions and millions of dollars to get religious legislation passed. I don’t think they should be allowed to hide their criminals and pedophiles. I don’t think God’s forgiveness should remove someone from legal justice.
And so I wait for the US, founded on ideals it never quite lives up to but always strives to achieve, I wait for it to look at its Constitution and realize it needs to do something to protect itself and its citizens from the constant onslaught of religious nonsense. I wait for it to say that I am deserving of equal protection under the law, that I deserve to be protected from mob rule, that other people’s imaginary friends and ancients books of myths are not more important than science and rationality and basic humanity.
Scientology creep, John Travolta, whose involvement in the religion/cult may or may not be responsible for the death of his child, is sending “volunteer ministers” from the Church/Cult of Scientology to Haiti.
I could say a lot more but the Gawker pretty much has it covered.
My question is, is it worse to appeal to your fundamentalist base by saying that Haiti deserved it because they’ve sold their soul or to try to take advantage of the horror in an attempt to gain converts to your creepy religion? Answers in essay form, please.