There is no such thing as a Christian Democracy. There is no such thing as a Muslim Democracy or a Jewish Democracy either (or a solely Heterosexual one, for that matter). True Democracy means True Equality and no religion sees itself as equal to all the others (and they feel especially unequal to secularism and atheism). Of all the problems we face in unifying the "United" States of America, one of the largest and most damaging is those who believe that their religion should be the official religion of our Democracy. In this country, the vast majority of them feel that the USA was founded as a Christian nation and should be run like one, which is anathema to the true Democratic ideals of our founding fathers. They never once think how they would feel if they were a minority and another religion was trying to assert its dominance over them in society. Let's look at two quotes from our presidential candidates that expose their feelings about American Democracy:
"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all." --Sen. Barack Obama, 6/28/06
"The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian Nation." - John McCain on video
And just for good measure, three quotes from some of our Founding Fathers as shown in Bill Maher's excellent film "Religulous":
"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." -- Thomas Jefferson
"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." -- John Adams
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." -- Benjamin Franklin
There is a fast growing percentage of the US population who does not choose organized religion at all and in many cases, follow or even acknowledge a god. Add to that the millions of American non-Christian believers of every other faith and you wind up with a large swath of the population of our country. Regardless of how sure you are that Christ will herald the Rapture and all sinners will go to Hell, connecting those beliefs with government is massively disrespectful of all the non-Christian citizens you share the country with. The main problem has to do with faith itself. People of every religion must accept certain dictates and definitions about how and why things are in their belief system and they must believe that their religious laws are "right" and all other beliefs (and non-beliefs) are thereby wrong. You can see how this is incongruous with Democratic equality. I may not believe in Jesus Christ, but my non-theistic lifestyle doesn't require my feeling superior to people of religion. Nor does it require convincing or recruiting other people to believe with me. But how often we see the holier-than-thou finger-pointing and the smug air of blind faith lorded over those who are different. Religion divides. And nobody's right.
A billion Muslims think the other 5 billion people on the planet are wrong. A billion Christians think the other 5 billion people on the planet are wrong. To the casual observer, it would seem to be a losing battle, a giant hedging of bets on red or black, a certainty in the one you picked and a total ignorance towards the many other colors of the rainbow. A 50% chance of being right and yet, the believers all seem so sure of their beliefs. In many ways, life is 50/50- either things go your way or they don't. That's life and the chances we take while living it. Having expectations of outcomes sets up disappointments and let's face it, none of us can predict the future. The past is gone and the future is uncertain, leaving only the moment you exist in as the one sure thing. Eckhart Tolle's best-seller The Power of Now is about that very subject, and there is great power in accepting a reality where we aren't bound to past and future but to Right Now. And Right Now more than ever, we need the kind of Democracy that provides the Freedom and Equality that America truly stands for.
Beyond religion, beyond race, beyond class, there is a world that waits for us to come together as one people, one race, one love. All it takes is a decision by each of us to accept our fellow citizens as equals so we can be truly unified by our fundamental rights of Liberty, Justice and the Pursuit of Happiness, three unalienable rights as promised in the Declaration of Independence. And for the record, the American Heritage Dictionary defines 'unalienable' as "Not to be separated, given away, or taken away." Those who seek to take away or subjugate the rights of others are inherently un-American and don't respect true Liberty and Justice for All. Religious elitism goes against the very foundation of Democracy and the principles that this great country was built on. If America is to truly be a shining beacon on the hill, it's light must reach all people, not some chosen few.
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