Ok, I’m going to say this explicitly. Religion is the antithesis of democracy. It is true around the world. It was true when our country was founded and our founding fathers put in our constitution the separation of church and state. In their time every country had an “official” religion. They wanted to ensure that everyone was free in this country to follow whatever religion they chose, or not to follow any religion if that was their choice.
It doesn’t matter which religion you believe in. Religion is fundamentally against democracy. That has been a major hurdle we have been trying to overcome since our founding. Remember, religion is based on the primary principle that “I am better than you because I am saved and you are not”, or “we are the chosen people” or “everyone else is an infidel”! That is not democracy, it is theism.
You see it in every country around the world, except maybe some few remaining communist countries. But, remember too, when Russia was still the Soviet Union, the Orthodox Catholic Church did not go away as the Lenin and Stalin wanted it to. It remained fairly viable among the population. Some countries like those in the middle east have an official religion. Namely Islam. England still has its Church of England. And the list goes on.
In our country, the currently predominant religion is some form of Christianity. I say some form because Christianity has more sects to it than almost any other religion in the world. There is disagreement among Christians as to which of these sects has the “true” believers. A few decades back, several new sects emerged. Longing for the “good old days” many conservatives formed their churches based on “literal interpretation” of the bible. These groups soon became known as Evangelicals and Conservative Christians.
Seeing other countries having official, or unofficial, religions, these Conservative Christians pined to have Christianity named as our religion. Even two legislative members of the North Carolina legislature proposed a law to name an official religion in the state. So far, it hasn’t passed.
Since Ronald Reagan, Conservatives and especially Republicans have wrapped themselves in the flag and the bible. They have gone on the premise that most people are Christian, therefore, they have to speak and offer laws that are appealing to them. Since then, conservatives have argued that only conservatives can be Christian. Liberals after all hate Christians and are waging a war on Christianity. That really came to a head when the self-anointed prophet Bill O’Reilly began his crusade about the war on Christmas.
The recent uproars and counter-uproars like Megyn Kelly stating as fact that Santa Clause and Jesus are both white, and Phil Robertson’s comments about race and homosexuality have provided both sides with plenty of fodder. The conservative side claims that “free speech” is at stake, and other groups claim that “civil liberties” are at stake.
Well, in one sense, they are both right. The problem is that if you are basing your political arguments on religious beliefs, you are arguing against “civil rights”. That includes “free speech”. and, if you are making your arguments based against religious beliefs, you are doing the same thing.
By its very definition, religion is bigoted! I am not saying that to put down any religion, I am merely stating fact. If you believe your religion is the “true” religion, you have no choice but to try to make everyone agree with you. If they don’t agree with you, then you must pass laws to make them follow your beliefs. That is anti-democratic and argues against civil liberties.
Conservative Christians go even further. They can spout quotes from the bible that “proves” whites are superior to blacks, that women are to be subject to men, that other religions are damned to eternal hell. Of course, other religions can say the same things according to their books and beliefs.
Whenever some conservative makes a ridiculous remark about women, blacks, gays, etc., if there is an outcry, their supporters immediately run up the “he is only a bible reading believer who is stating what he believes” argument. That is when their “free speech” or “separation of church and state” arguments come in. But, if I were to say something like conservative Christians are nothing but racist, homophobic, women bashing bigots, I am call a Christian hating liberal who has no right to say such things.
Now, I don’t really care what conservatives say about me. I probably don’t even register on their radar. But, I do care about what they are trying to do to my country. They are trying to establish “old-fashioned Christian Law” as the law of the land. That means, they are trying to establish Christian Sharia Law in the U.S. What makes that better than Sharia Law established in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, or any other Muslim country? Yet, these same conservatives rail loudly against Muslim Sharia Law.
Who are the people behind the erosion of civil liberties in America? Who are behind the voter suppression laws? Who are behind the anti-gay marriage laws? Who are behind the notion of “equal but separate”? Who are behind anti-women’s rights? Who are behind teaching creationism as “science”? The answer to these questions and many more are Conservative Christians”. Their arguments in favor of these anti-social laws isn’t that it is the right thing to do, but rather it “says so in the bible”.
The bible is a good book. But, it is not the only book. Besides that it is full of errors. Almost every scholar I know who has studied the bible will tell you that there are plenty of errors in the bible because it was translated wrongly from the classical Greek. That doesn’t make it irrelevant. It merely points out that people do make mistakes and because of that, nothing can be taken literally. The message of Christianity isn’t every man for himself as people like Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and Ayn Rand would have you believe.
I firmly believe in the separation of church and state. I firmly believe everyone has the right to believe in whatever religion they choose. I also firmly believe that in order to ensure that the constitution remains the “law of the land” we must stop using religion as the basis for our arguments. Everyone in the world is not Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish. By legislating religious beliefs into law, we are destroying democracy and establishing theism. There are no “civil liberties” in theism!