I’ve mentioned before that there is an evolution of policy stances by conservative and Republican politicians, because the environment — the American public — has shifted its majority opinion on issues such as gay rights and even same-sex marriage. Thus, these politicians need to keep shifting, if only apparently softening, their stance on these issues, or risk not surviving the changing environment of general elections, beyond the dwindling hard-core voter block of die-hard religious fundamentalists.
Thus Jeb Bush, throwing his hat into the ring, and his comments on same-sex marriage in Florida. He speaks more softly, but his stance hasn’t really changed at all; Michelangelo Signorile properly calls him out on this in a Huffington Post article, ‘Respect’ My Opposition to Your Civil Rights Because ‘Religious Liberty’.
All such arguments presume that religious beliefs trump the Constitution, which clearly has amendments about the non-establishment of religion, and equal rights under the law to everyone, with no qualifiers about gender. It continually baffles me how the right-wing does not understand this. Or actually it doesn’t baffle me: politicians as smart as Jeb Bush must surely realize they have no case that would survive a constitutional challenge. But they are speaking to a base voter population that does not understand that, or refuses to believe it, secure in their religious presumption that they have a right to impose their scruples on the entire population. There is a huge difference in proportion, obviously, but the base motivation is the same as that of those who massacred the staff of Charlie Hebdo this week.
Increasingly, people are calling out the dangerous absurdities of religious faith.
We need to cease granting religion – and not just Islam – an exemption from criticism. If we do not believe the fables foisted on us (without evidence) by the faithful, we need to say so, day in and day out, in mixed company, and especially in front of children (to thwart their later indoctrination). We must stop according religion unconditional respect, stop deferring to men (and mostly they are men) who happen to preface their names with the titles of reverend or rabbi or imam, and de-sanctify the sacred, in word and deed.
Title sums it up.
The ‘great’ religions have had thousands of years to accomplish something, and what they’ve accomplished are some lovely cathedrals, inspirations to much beautiful music, and many variant social traditions that comfort people throughout their lives. These things are not trivial. But they also instill among their followers an intolerance and fear of people who are different; tribalistic thinking, writ large.
While it is rationality and science that have created our modern society, with its technology, standards of health, and awareness of the actual universe that we live in.
Christians in the US these days seem intent on defining themselves, though their refusal to deal with people [gays] who don’t conform to their Biblical rules of life, as people who cannot get along with others who are not like themselves. In this increasingly multicultural world (there’s no turning back) such attitudes are poison, and perhaps that’s why surveys keep showing that adherents to formal religion are dwindling. Maybe Arthur C. Clarke was right after all: given multiculturalism (exposure to the fact that other people are not like you) and education (what the world is actually like, contrary to the myths of ancient illiterates) religion will fade like all the other superstitions that survive only in the minds of the gullible and feeble-minded.