Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blog Against Theocracy--Here There be Lions

I suppose my basic stance regarding the tendency towards joining in with paroxysms of religious fervor is best summed up by Melville's Bartleby: I would prefer not to. Which isn't to say I have embarked on a renunciation of all things spiritual. It's just that I don't find a significant overlap between my path and that of the religious right in this country. To be honest, I am forsworn against the tyranny of little minds (for the benefit of the wise guy who noticed my transcendentalist leanings) and think that any transaction on the moral plain is a dealing with one's self and one's own dealing with their own particular conception of God.

I would want to take something, then, specifically, up with certain announced and unannounced candidates for the presidency, regarding what to do with some  American citizens, for whom they would presume to have some executive power to change their lives considerably. And who, contrary to the religious right rhetoric, might not have such a prevailing wind as to dictate what treatment they should expect, as only a necessary expectation that they, too, should be merely treated as human.

The current office-holder of Executive-in-Chief has come out strongly for the rights of a here-to-fore marginalized community. But what can we expect of the current crop of the GOP's E-i-C prospects?

Very little.

Possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee seems to think that the gays will eventually destroy all the churches.  Which I guess makes enough sense if your definition of a church is "a thing that oppresses gay people". If your church doesn't have that definition,  though, I think there might be better news .  Maybe your church will embrace people from all walks even as Christ did and go on to do good works for all kinds of people. Weirder things have happened.

The first announced candidate, Ted Cruz, has expounded about how he feels the gays have a "jihad" against people of faith.  Because thinking things are the other way about, where Christians have been persecuting gays, is apparently too much.  But also because some people thinking that being gay is okay distracts from a very important "consensus"--which is actually divisive and not that consenting. I think gay is pretty much okay. I accept people on the face value of their relation of their personal experiences and think shaming people for speaking out about themselves and pretending that being oneself is extremism is pretty much a self-serving shit-show.

Basically, I'm saying Ted Cruz' campaign might very well be a self-serving shit-show.

You know, Rick Santorum has taken a very strong stance against blow jobs.  His whole life. It's likely to actually be the rock of his campaign if he has one. And if IN. Governor Mike Pence suffered even a minute over his dumbass "religious freedom to discriminate" bill, let it be recognized that LA. Gov. Bobby Jindal is just about ready for exactly that kind of notoriety.

Were these lions enough?


mikey said...

The truly hilarious - and by hilarious I mean blatantly hypocritical - part is that they have chosen to refer to themselves as "Constitutional Conservatives".

The very FIRST line of the FIRST amendment to the US constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

I mean, even if you move your lips when you read and haven't finished an actual book since 1983, it should be pretty hard to overlook that part...

Vixen Strangely said...

It's impossible to reconcile with the First Commandment--"Thou shalt put no other Gods before me", with the First Amendment. The first amendment says--whatever gods you want, have them. However you want to worship them-do. The First Commandment says--only this god and only this way.

That the government can't mix up its business with the business of religion seems simple enough. That this is as much a protection for religious people as they can expect should be recognized. Wanting to also make this "protection" extend to how others worship or live is a fiasco of lily-guilding proportions--not good for the lily and a waste of gold.

Formerly Amherst said...

Vixen, the wise guy returns. One would be a dim bulb indeed if he read your poetry and did not realize that you had a strong inclination in the direction of the transcendent.

Actually you and I have very similar ideas when it comes to spirituality. I would say some differences are
1. I used to be angry about many of the problems in connection with religion. A man wiser than I put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Tadpole, it's one thing to be an angry young man. It's another thing to be an angry old man. You should think about that.”
Over the years I have thought about the wisdom of this injunction, and have come to see the wisdom of it. So I have agreements and disagreements with organized religion as I do with everything, but I am no longer angry about it, as serenity is to be coveted.
2. I have learned that spirituality is like inspiration – it's where you find it. And although I get more inspiration from Romantic poets, I realize that some people do in fact have a profound sense of spirituality in the various orthodox communions. I simply see organized religion as one of many areas in which a person can sometimes connect with the spiritual dimension.

Here is something from “Invocation: The lost Dimension in Religion,” by Paul Tillich.
“Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt. Such an idea of religion makes religion universally human, but it certainly differs from what is usually called religion. It does not describe religion as the belief in the existence of gods or the one God, and as a set of activities and institutions for the sake of relating ourselves to these beings in thought, devotion, and obedience. No one can deny that the religions which have appeared in history are religions in this sense. Nevertheless, religion is its innermost nature is more than religion in this narrower sense. It is the state of being concerned about one's own being and being universally.

“There are many people who are ultimately concerned in this way who feel far removed, however, from religion in this narrower sense, and therefore from every historical religion. It often happens that such people take the question of the meaning of their life infinitely seriously and reject any historical religion just for this reason. They feel that the concrete religions fail to express their profound concern adequately. They are religious while rejecting religions. It is this experience which forces us to distinguish the meaning of religion as living in the dimension of depth from particular expressions of one's ultimate concern in the symbols and institutions of a concrete religion. If we now turn to concrete analysis of the religious situation of our time, it is obvious that our key must be the basic meaning of religion and not any particular religion, not even Christianity. What does this key disclose about the predicament of man in our period? If we define religion as the state of being grasped by an infinite concern, we must say: Man in our time has lost such infinite concern, and the resurgence of religion is nothing but a desperate and mostly futile attempt to regain what has been lost.

“How did the dimension of depth become lost? Like any important event, it has many causes, but certainly not the one which one hears often mentioned from ministers' pulpits and evangelists' platforms, namely that a widespread impiety of modern man is responsible. Modern man is neither more pious nor more impious than man in any other period. The loss of dimension of depth is caused by the relation of man to his world and to himself in our period, the period in which nature is being subjugated scientifically and technologically to the control of man. In this period, life and the dimension of depth is replaced by life in the horizontal dimension...”

Formerly Amherst said...

Addendum: I see I didn't say anything about politics. I haven't been inside a church for 40 years (except to look at cathedral architecture). At the same time, I grew up in the Bible Belt. Everybody in the bible belt under the age of 45 or 50 grew up going to church and Sunday school. Going to church is ordinary to me. Just business as usual.

I don't care if a person is an atheist or a Christian. Look, I could get upset with atheists, because Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot murdered at least a hundred million people. Eisenhower had no use for a spiritual life, and he was a good president. Torquemada used to go into religious raptures watching a sinner be burned to death. But John Kennedy was a good president and a devout Catholic. Father Andrew Greeley (who's gotten more out of sex as a celibate than most of us do with ordinary sexuality) was still going into paroxysms of joy over Kennedy gaining the White House decades later.

James Webb sees Christianity very favorably, and I would be fine with him as president. What I care about is that the president is intelligent, honorable, capable, filled with goodwill, savvy, and knows the right direction to take the country; and it doesn't hurt to be skillful as a chief executive. Generally I prefer governors. I am not in favor of another amateur (to use Bill Clinton's word) getting into the White House. We've had enough of that. And I don't want another Clinton or Bush to be President. Didn't Martin O'Malley say something against royal dynasties swapping out chief executives?

So anyway, if Jimmy Swaggart wanted to be president, I'd be against him. If the late Madalyn Murray O'Hair had wanted to be president, I'd be against her.

As you can see, Christianity and politics are a non-issue to me.

Vixen Strangely said...

I don't expect to see an atheist running for president for awhile (not openly as such, anyway)--but I definitely feel like competence is a more important issue for me as well than whatever one self-labels their private belief system.