Oh, the convoluted world of politics and religion! The two topics seem to be more intertwined with this administration than with any other here in the USA. Now our neighbor to the north, a neighbor known to have been rather liberal, is beginning to share our same intense entanglement thanks to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who claims he is both a conservative and Evangelical Christian.
I have no quarrel with anyone's personal convictions. But similar to my belief that religion tends to do more damage to already sullied politics, I believe that religion also does great harm to faith. I consider faith to be a quiet acceptance of the unknown. Faith is less likely to interfere with politics while keeping itself separate from other people's values. Religion, on the other hand, does quite the opposite. We witness this kind of religion in those wealthy evangelistic ministers who manage to get national airtime, not to mention Bush's ear and signature pen. Now McCain is taking advantage of the powerful organization by employing Falwell's debate coach for his own political strategy. You remember what McCain had previously called Falwell, don't you? Something along the lines of being an "agent of intolerance." Apparently, Falwell has now simply become an agent alone.
It is times like these that I begin to imagine how wonderful our country would be if faith existed without the baggage of religion. Perhaps then, one's faith wouldn't affect another's. However, the Christian right behaves as though pagans are interfering with their prayers to Jesus and in turn scrambling their communication to heaven and will be the cause of certain mayhem.
Like it or not, fundamentalists must acknowledge the basic truth that we are all walking in faith, even if some do not adhere to any religious doctrine. The atheists' faith is that there is no Supreme Being awaiting them on the other side. Muslims look forward to seeing Allah when they arrive to their final destination. And we certainly don't need to guess who the Christian right expects to be greeted by upon their passing. The thing is, until we die, we really do not know what is waiting for us. We hope and base our beliefs on different theories, none though on any concrete facts. This is where faith comes in. Therefore, those decreed persecutions throughout history in the name of religion may have been misguided and the expected authorial words, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant" never uttered.
It's odd to think that as much as we have progressed as a people, when it comes to religion, not much has changed over the centuries. There have always been oppressors in the name of religion. Dancing was considered sinful; as was sipping wine. For some, these still are abominations. Using the fear of damnation, churches keep congregations wound up so tight that they are afraid to figure out their own truth. Lately, politics has become another vehicle to promulgate religion while faith has little to do with any of it. But why is the Christian right afraid that upholding civil liberties will negatively affect their way of worshipping? Could they possibly be worried that the ostensible joy and harmony they proclaim as an offshoot of their faith will not stand up to the test?
No doubt, we often hunger for something that brings us to new heights. It seems we have been packaged that way. Some call it original sin; others, human nature. Either way, perhaps it is why drug and alcohol use is so prevalent. Perhaps it is why the driving thumping beat of rock and roll took off like wildfire. Perhaps, too, it is why sexual activity, even with its threat of disease when unprotected, prevails--the orgiastic state fills a primitive appetite that bears repeating...again and...again.
Is it possible, though, that those who are taking up the banner for their god find it to be an emotionally charged feeling, as well? What a high, what a rush, to challenge others on behalf of the almighty! In essence, these theocrats are saying, "My god can beat up your god" and in the process daring adversaries to defy them. However, if we want to live in a democratic society, we will need to take up that challenge. Unless, of course, the right, the left and anything in between chooses to stand out of the way and let the gods duke it out on their own.
Then perhaps faith and democracy will flourish without any unwieldy baggage.