Thursday, April 24, 2008

Religion and Social Discourse

In 1993, a ranch in Waco, Texas, was stormed by the cavalry and everyone remaining inside was slaughtered.

One might say that nothing less would be expected in Texas, except that the ranch was owned by a group of Seventh-Day Adventists calling themselves Branch Dvaidians, and Texas alleges to be a pro-religion state.

In 2007, the cavalry stormed a ranch in San Angelo, Texas, owned by a group of Mormons calling themselves the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, another religious group.

Fortunately, this time they only took the 400+ children from their parents, they have not yet killed anyone.

We live in a society where religion has been raised to a most sacred place in the public discourse, where anyone with a cross to bear and an ax to grind can force themselves into the public eye and lower the negotiation of social discussion to the level of sex and biblical fairy tales.

I want to sympathize with the Branch Davidians, who did not deserve to die, and the Fundamentalist Mormons, who did not deserve to have their children taken from them. It's hard to be sympathetic, though, towards religious groups.

The pain caused to homosexuals, single-mothers and intellectuals by backward-thinking religious people from The Vatican to Washington, D.C., to Texas, and beyond is far greater than the pain felt by religious people in Texas; and the damage to our national pride by religious wackos, is far more damaging than the loss of life in Waco or the emotional terror of San Angelo.

Religion has to be removed from our public discourse before I can begin to sympathize with religious people who are harmed by our right-wing, reactionary government the religious have worked so hard to build.

As soon as the religious remove their gods from our public discourse, I will sympathize with their right to religious freedom. As long as they have their gods in our bedrooms, schools, health clinics, and governmental budgets, my sympathy is tempered.

No comments: