Posted on | April 8, 2007 |
I had a terrible migraine on Thursday so I cashed it in for the week and instead of posting, celebrated Good Friday listening to Karl Muck’s recordings of Wagner’s Parsifal (on the original 78s in gloriously antediluvian sound! ) Fred and Bert ran from the house, screaming like a couple of girls (as expected– and believe me, it wasn’t pretty–apologies to Johnny Bravo). Imagine my suprise when Dr. Heidi, aka Virushead, wrote to tell me about the Blog Against Theocracy Blogswarm this weekend (THANKS DR. HEIDI).
I’d already planned the Iraq Withdrawl/Rapture cartoon for tomorrow as an Easter offering. Hearing about the Blogswarm, I decided to rush it through today, in charcoal instead of ink so I could link up with the Bloggers Against Theocracy. Because of this posting, I won’t be posting tomorrow but WILL post Wednesday and Friday as usual.
Yea, Verily, Here folleweth mine own official Posting to BAT:
My own religious beliefs are delightfully confused, going from polytheist one day to Gnostic Christian the next and atheist the day after that. With this belief structure, I naturally take offense at ANYONE telling me what I should or should not believe. Now, imagine that it is the government that is … not telling me what I SHOULD believe, but making it advantageous for people who believe. Like we have in Mr. Bush’s government. Well, that’s not telling me NOT to believe something OR to believe something other than what I do believe. But it IS discrimination against my own beliefs–because it gives its favor to a different set of belieds. Discrimination–that’s simply the first step on the cliched, but nonetheless real, long slippery slope towards an established church and theocracy. We’ve already taken those steps through Mr. Bush’s “faith-based initiatives.” As we’ve gone along, schoolbooks have been rewritten to present evolution and “creation science” as hypotheses of equal footing, never mind the scientists who’ve been muzzled on environmental and conservation concerns, which while horrendous, are not part of the issue we’re discussing. Anti-abortion rhetoric has been enshrined in government-ssed handouts of advice to pregnant mothers. We’ve entered into a “holy Crusade”, theoretically against the foes of “freedom”, but which is simply a codeword for Muslims. Psigh–this is the kind of government you get when its leader believes that he has a special hotline to God.
To theocratize or not to theocratize–this is not a question that belongs to liberals or progressives alone. Conservatives should also be intensely aware of the dangers. What, isn’t the tie between conservatism and that old time religion natural enough for me? But wasn’t it Ayn Rand who, in her most embarassing work “Anthem”, decried the stultifying effect of having a government that had to approve everything based on its own beliefs? Even the architectrice of the Church of the Individual was afraid of any Group ruled by beliefs from governing any secular state. And real conservatives would do well to heed her warnings as well.
The fact of the matter is that we HAD a theocracy in the West. It lasted from about 400 to 1400, when the Roman Church had immense power over the politics of Europe. But, in the two centuries surrounding that last date, several things happened of immense importance to the Western World. The Black Death killed good and evil alike, and against which prayer had no power. The Printing Press allowed both the poor as well as the wealthy access to books and learning. The Discovery of a New World forced the Old World to realize that there was more to the earth they lived on than the Bible had allowed. The Discovery of Copernican cosmology showed that This World wasn’t even the center of the Universe. And of course, the Protestant revolution challenged the unity of the theocratic institution of the Church to which even kings were subject. The result was not chaos, but an explosion of learning, technology, knowledge, and the eventual betterment of the lives of all men (and women) in what had previously been the western Theocracy. Do we want to go back? Of course not–but there are people who want it to stop, here, tight where we are, right now, and who use religion as the basis of that desire for halting our progress. And they realize the only way to actualize their desire is to gain control of the government.
Do we really want a country whose exit strategy from Iraq is that we’ll be saved by the Rapture from having to make a decision? Oh excuse me, that’s what we have–RIGHT NOW. We can still vote it out. But, isn’t that what the sainted Founders were concerned about when they elected to enshrine the doctrine of the separation of Church and State? Not simply the persecution of religious beliefs by an established church, but the dictation of National Policy by that established religious belief? I may not know what I believe about the Deity, but I do know what I believe about the Constitution of the United States, and I believe there was a good reason for the separation of Church and State. The nation should be directed by the people, not the preachers, whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Santerian or what not. And that that was the wish of our Founding Fathersis is one of my profoundest beliefs.