When it comes to the religious divide I believe there are issues to be addressed from the left and the right and hopefully if we think about it we’ll all be able to come together somewhere in the middle where sanity resides. It is rapidly becoming a religious war and that’s never been a good thing for any people or nation.
To both sides I will say openly that I don’t think faith, or the lack thereof, should be a matter of public policy or debate and the founding fathers agreed with me. They said one time in the constitution that it will be a free choice and is not to be infringed up and then it was mentioned no more. These men were scholars and they knew history. They knew that the greatest abuses in the history of the world came from religion getting in bed with government because when a man is convinced you hold his very soul hostage there is no limit to what you can get him to do. They wrote simple language to prevent that from happening here, so I don’t understand why people are having such a hard time grasping that simple concept.
To the Right
Trying to force your beliefs on our nation as a whole through government policy isn’t protecting your right to freedom of faith. You are in fact, taking that choice not only from yourselves but from your fellow citizens. Contrary to the current rhetoric, the founding fathers were not all Christians in the context we are speaking of. Most had a belief in an intelligent creator but held varying beliefs about what role that creator played in our lives. The one thing they all agree on was that it wasn’t a matter for public policy.
So let’s think about this for a minute from a purely logical perspective. If we gave in to the demands that we establish Christianity as our “national religion” whose version would we accept? Would Baptists be content if we legislated based on Catholic beliefs? It’s virtually impossible to find two people of any specific Christian doctrine who agree much less when we start to consider varying doctrines and faiths. Wouldn’t legislating based on one or the other take away your right to free belief? You say you want prayer in schools but would you want an instructor of a different faith teaching your children the appropriate way to pray?
I would also like to remind Christians that there is no Biblical account of Jesus ever going through government to reach people. He didn’t go to Caesar to get him to pass laws to force people to accept Him. When asked about taxes to Caesar He told them to give unto Caesar that which was Caesar’s and unto God that which was God’s. I think that He clearly established the separation of church and state with that one statement. He went to them one-on-one, ministering to their needs and showing them the love of God to win their hearts and isn’t being Christ-like what Christianity is supposed to be about?
Isn’t this political movement to force everyone to accept someone else’s beliefs really a perversion of Christianity? Isn’t that the same as our own version of Sharia law? When you go to ancient texts and use your literal interpretation of them to legislate everyone else’s rights that’s exactly what the radical Muslims do, not all (or anywhere near most) Muslims, but the jihadists, and it’s no different if it’s based on the Bible or the Quran. Both of these ancient texts contain a lot of violence, such as stoning people for “offenses” we all accept as a part of normal life, like the biblical command about wearing clothing made of two different types of cloth.
Your freedom of faith gives you the right to share your beliefs with anyone who is willing to listen. It gives you the right to minister to people’s needs and attempt to persuade them to your belief. If you are concerned that young girl might have an abortion out of desperation you are free to offer her assistance or a home and whatever help she might need to give her another option. What you are not free to do is force through law other free Americans to live what you believe. It takes away their freedom of belief and yours.
True Biblical Christianity from my viewpoint is about a humble heart, a spirit of love and applying your beliefs to yourself…your own life and behavior…not about forcing it on someone else.
As Jesus said, “Love one another.”
To the Left
To the left I would say you need to stop over-reacting to the zealots on the right by becoming zealots yourselves. I see people on the left, not all but many, who are so furious about this attempt to force someone else’s beliefs on them through public policy and government that they’ve become just as radical about atheism as the right is about Christianity. Both are personal belief systems and are your free right as an American citizen.
You can’t prove an omnipotent God with science but you also can’t disprove one. These are matters of the heart and should be up to each individual without ridicule or contention on either side. For people of faith, the “big bang” is just as much a far-fetched notion as the idea of an intelligent creator is to non-believers. You say science proves evolution and disproves the whole concept of God, but an omnipotent God–who has no confines of time because He’s eternal–could create in a way that makes both true. Both are big concepts that nobody can prove or disprove because there is no written history from two billion years ago, so let’s stop drawing a division where none should or need be.
Some criticize and ridicule everyone of faith. I would like to remind the left that most of the great liberal/progressive leaders we’ve had were people of faith who believed they were their brothers’ keeper because of that faith. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher. John F. Kennedy Jr. was also a man of faith as was his brother and Medgar Evers. Our president is a man of faith and I think as not only the President of the Harvard Law Review, but also President of the United States he has proven beyond a doubt that he isn’t an idiot but a scholar and a man with an exceptional mind.
So can we please stop that rhetoric and assault on anyone of faith? It should not be part of our public discourse or the way we speak of and treat our fellow citizens. We each need to respect each other’s belief or non-belief as a constitutional American right without ridicule or condemnation so we can all come together for the common good. We have to stop dividing people by non-belief in the same way the right has done over belief. If we’re going to unite the people in a common cause everyone has to feel as if they are accepted and respected as fellow citizens regardless of all other differences.
To the Left, the Right and the Middle
The people who are making fortunes off of the suffering of the American people, and the rest of the world, are maintaining their power by keeping us divided, so let’s look at how they divide us. I believe it’s those very divisions they have used to get us to take our eyes off the ball, so they could put us here and keep us here. Let’s look at some of the ways we are divided so we can reject them.
They divide us over race, national origin, gender, class, education (or the lack thereof), and the contents of our bank account. They divide us over who jogs and who doesn’t, who smokes and who doesn’t, who drinks or smokes pot and who doesn’t, who eats meat and who doesn’t, who is skinny, fat, short or tall, etc…and we have not only allowed it, but been willing participants. How many ways can a nation be splintered and divided?
Now we have the religious divide. By controlling the information and manipulating the people they have the Right believing their bible should be the constitution. Because they resent this attack on their rights the left has responded with an attack on all people of faith and again we have allowed it. The right and left are snarling at each other over religion when we should all know those are personal matters of the heart that shouldn’t affect public policy.
The religious divide is allowing them to destroy free public education because the right doesn’t want evolution taught to their children and the left doesn’t want their children to even hear of creationism. While we’re arguing over that, teachers are being cut en masse and schools are being closed all over the country. Does it matter if they teach creationism and evolution or is it more important that there are schools?
I believe it’s more important to teach children how to think than what to think. If they know how to think and have basic skills they will decide for themselves as they learn and grow and are exposed to different lines of thought. That’s as it should be in a free society. Family is the most influential social structure but there comes a time when people should weigh the facts and choose their own path regardless.
Government and public policy is about how we relate to each other in a free society and what should be legislated versus what should be free choice. What does it matter what your child studied in school that day if he goes to bed hungry? Or worse yet, what if he’s homeless and has no bed? What if that child is also sick and suffering and can’t go to the doctor?
We have to come together as Americans and realize that we are all one regardless of skin tone, religious belief or lack thereof, nation of origin, what we eat, what kind of sex or partner we choose, etc. We are Americans and there is no issue more important than unity for the common good.
The oldest battle tactics in the history of the world are diversion and divide and conquer. We are being destroyed by these divisions so can we please get back to “the common good?” Wasn’t it a president we see as one of our greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln, who said a nation divided against itself cannot stand?
Someone recently said to me that I had zero chance of being a victim of “stop and frisk” because I happen to be a white woman. I’m sure that’s true, but does that mean I shouldn’t care that another American is experiencing that indignity for no other reason than his skin isn’t the same tone as mine? When it happens to him it is happening to me. If he complains about it he’s “playing the race card,” but if I stand up for him I’m being an American. We didn’t begin to address civil rights until white people stood up with black people and said ‘no’ to it…with a united voice.
Until we cast aside all of our differences and come together as one people, fighting for each other’s liberty and well-being, then we are all lost. Does anybody think that Paul Revere only rode by the houses that held people of the same faith as him or had the same thing for dinner? If the revolutionaries hadn’t been united beyond all other differences would this country even exist?
People have tried to explain it in many ways but it’s our unity that’s always made America special and resilient. In the 60’s white kids from the north voluntarily went to the south, some dying for it, because they cared that black people were being denied the right to vote and that made us special. It’s the fact that many of us are just as indignant over a black man being a victim of “stop and frisk”–and maybe even sent to prison unjustly–as we would be if it were those of us that are Caucasian which makes us special. It’s the fact that when a disaster happens instead of running from it in fear, Americans run to the disaster to help that makes us special.
I say this economic disaster we are suffering through is the worst disaster this country has seen since the Great Depression and we’re running from each other and blaming each other instead of toward each other.
We need to run to each other, embrace each other and take up each other’s burdens and causes if we are to survive intact. We have to fight for our brother and sister as hard as we fight for ourselves. Wall Street corporations are making record profits and buying our government with the money while the people are subsisting on food stamps, and yet we’re snarling at each other in food lines. Who’s really gaining from this division and who’s really losing?