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Seer of ghosts & weaver of stories

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This is completely insupportable.
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America, by and large, believed in God. I think we can all agree on this. However, we can also agree on the fact that several of them showed signs of not believing in God to quite the same degree as, say, modern conservative Christians of most stripes. For example, there's the high probability that Thomas Jefferson was a deist, if not an agnostic or atheist. These men believed in different things to different degrees, in a time when it was dangerous not to believe in God. The times must be taken into account.

However, they wrote the Constitution with the intention that this document and, by extension, the U.S. government would grow and evolve with the needs of its people. We are no longer a nation in which the majority believe in God. Around half are Christian, and the rest either believe in some other form of higher power or are agnostic/atheistic. We can't ignore this and act as if things are exactly as they were 200-odd years ago.

We do not need a government based on God's laws. Not all of America believes in God anymore, and not all of America is even Christian. The most frequent accusation I hear leveled by the Right is that we're "leaving God out" these days. Well, yes. If we're going to survive, we kind of do need to leave God out. That's why Separation of Church and State exists. The Founding Fathers knew it needed to exist. You cannot have the entirety of a population free to live as it wishes when, say, things like abortion and gay marriage (or some equivalent; domestic partnership, whatever you want to call it) are not legal. Most Christians and other religious individuals will tell you they believe in some form of free agency, yet most of them also adamantly support lawmakers and politicians who would make laws to restrict the individual's right to choose. People would be punished for choosing.

This is counter-intuitive at best and dangerous at worst.

Can we not agree that, under a government that's based on humanistic principles rather than religious principles, the religious at least have the right to believe and practice as they see fit? Just because things that those individuals find controversial are (theoretically) legal doesn't mean that their government is letting them down. It means that the government is working the way it should be working. You know, like the Founding Fathers intended it to.


ETA: This post comes after a conversation I had with a family member this morning regarding why they think the Obama administration needs to be opposed at all costs. And I'm sorry, but saying that there's not enough God in his policies isn't going to get very far with me. Why? Because I can't take you seriously when you tell me that, in spite of the fact that you believe in free agency and that people should be able to live their lives as they see fit, you tell me that you think ONE NATION UNDER GOD is what we should be. No. We are one nation, period. One nation for each other and for all mankind, no matter what we happen to believe or not believe. Love one another because you should, not because God told you to (or didn't, depending on the set of "holy" precepts to which you adhere).

Further to current events, I don't understand all this outcry about the President giving a speech to the children of America. Past presidents, of both parties, have given speeches to young people and nobody shouted about it. Telling kids to study hard and stay in school is a good thing, right? Right? I think most parents agree that education is important.

For crying out loud, even Laura Bush thinks Obama is doing a good job. Can't we just step away from the tinhat paranoia and see what's really at stake—namely, our future?


ETA2: Medical Bills Prompt More Than 60% of U.S. Bankruptcies

I heart smart people.

No matter how many times I have this conversation with one of my Conservative family members - who insist that they believe in free agency, yet that they feel we're leaving God out of our government - it doesn't seem to get across. Am I not explaining this clearly enough? You can't claim to believe in free agency, yet turn around and say you want more God in your government, because God's laws, according to most Christians/other conservative religious types, restrict life unfairly for those who are non-believers or are of other faiths. I just...


I've got to keep trying.

Edited at 2009-09-08 12:50 pm (UTC)

easter Expand
ajodasso Expand
Well, I am obviously going to agree here. Woo! \o/

[also weren't several of the FFs deists at best? not exactly believing in the kind of God most people mean when they say 'God']

Yes, exactly (re: what you've said about the FFs).

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And that's a very dangerous outlook for those people to have indeed. If we fail, it's not because God is punishing us. It's because we've failed ourselves and each other.

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ajodasso Expand
You will never win this argument for the same reason you cannot convince a suicide bomber he will not in fact end up with seventy-two virgins in paradise. They have faith that X is Y, that up is down, that left is right, that stupid is clever. You cannot argue with "God said so." There is no secular authority, to these people, capable of going up against "God said so."

God isn't sitting in the White House, though, making tough calls. If He cared so much about it, He'd come down and do it Himself ;) Siiiigh. Well, one thing for certain: dying to get one's point across seems to work very well, and if I ever found myself in a situation where it was abandon my convictions or die, it'd be death for me. Maybe then my family would understand where I'm coming from and why I feel this is so very essential.

ajodasso Expand
You just have to keep telling them they are unpatriotic, unAmerican, and that they want Teh Terrizts to win.

Iz R Turn. :-D

Really, you can't argue with them, so might as well have fun.

Well, I'm not sure I'm having fun, but I'm happy to be talking about this issue openly and actively. I'm happy that I no longer feel I have to hide my point of view (not that I've really been hiding it these past 4-5 years anyway). That's a start.

(Deleted comment)
Then I'm determined to be a very, very outspoken sockpuppet :-D

(I do hear you, though. I'm just too determined to drop it, I think. I'm always searching for better ways of articulating myself, in hopes that it may one day come across in such a way that will make sense to one of them. You never know.)

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ajodasso Expand
And once again I can't express how happy I am to live in a relatively secular country, where no one remotely balanced would demand mixing up religion and politics.

This is something that troubles me from time to time: if, indeed, the religious right ever manage to regain control of the U.S. government, and to an even greater extent than before, will it be impossible for me to ever return home? Because I can guarantee you that I will refuse to live in a place that cannot give its best attempt at seeing to the rights of all individuals equally and fairly. It's why I strive so ardently to promote sane thinking in this matter to my family (and others). We will lose so much if the viewpoint with respect to God and government doesn't shift in that 50 percent of our population (or 40 percent, or whatever it's hovering nearer to at present). It's just enough to cause major problems. For everyone.

Edited at 2009-09-08 03:46 pm (UTC)


I'm not asking you to defend what you believe...just that you respect what I believe Isn't there a possibility that you may be wrong?

Maybe there's a God, and maybe there isn't. Might I be wrong about that? Yes, certainly.

But wrong about whether or not God belongs in politics? I think there are plenty of concrete arguments and case-studies showing why that's a universally bad idea. And another thing: you're essentially asking me if I might be wrong about opposing the restriction of others' rights.

To which I say: no, I don't feel I'm wrong on that score. It is never right to restrict the rights of others. Not even if you believe God tells you it's okay to do so. In other words: I respect your right to believe in God, but the minute you're going to bring it into politics in order to place restrictions on what people can and can't do with respect to basic equality? I no longer have respect.

Edited at 2009-09-08 06:19 pm (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
That's fundamentally what I'm talking about, but a lot of Americans don't actually seem to believe we should have it. How peculiar...?

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To be honest, it does genuinely scare me to hear some of the opinions that are given real weight in the US. It's hard to say that without offending people though, because those of all stripes are so much more nationalistic than cynical Brits like me are.

I kind of scanned most of this, but people seriously don't understand all that they're resisting here.

NONE of the schools in my area showed the speech. *shakes head*
Gotta love the South. *sporfle*

Did Bush ever give an address to children? Seriously, I'm trying to remember. And if he ever did, how did people react to that?

My school showed the Obama speech. The problem is my classmates were being too noisy for me to hear any of it.

Out of genuine disrespect, or were they just being...well, no offense meant to you in saying this...typical high-school students? ;)

alan_yee Expand
(Deleted comment)
I completely agree with this post of yours. Completely. *nods*

I've tried saying it once or twice before, but I was never quite happy with the way it came out. This time? I am.