My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And God Said, Ruin It for Everyone

This last Sunday 33 Evangelical pastors defied a federal law that prohibits U.S. clergy from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit. The Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. told worshipers that the Barack Obama’s positions on abortion and gay partnerships are "in direct opposition to God's truth as He has revealed it in the Scriptures." The Reverend believes that he as has a constitutional right to advise his congregation how to vote. In between sermons the he told the Washington Post, "The point that the IRS says you can't do it, I'm saying you're wrong." Almost ever election there are members of the extreme religious right who come out in defiance of the code that says nonprofit, tax-exempt entities may not "participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office".

I don’t understand why a religious person in a position of power would exchange their historic religious authority for a fleeting promise of political power, to the detriment of their churches. Moreover, by entering into a relationship between the state, they are sacrificing the direction of their faith to a government organization. Anytime a private sector is institutionalized, the government gets to control the direction of the newly acquired entity. So our system is set up to protect religions from being turned into government organizations. This keeps them free to choose their own direction, beliefs, and faith. The payment for this is that they must stay free and clear from "participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office" (1954 tax code amendment).

What bothers me more about this situation is that there are people in this country so willing to give the government power over the direction of their most sacred beliefs. Sure I’m post-theological, not religions, atheist, or whatever you want to label me, but the mere fact that we have American citizens so uneducated in their government that they would willingly give up their freedoms is extraordinarily disturbing to me. I don’t know of anyone who would be so enthusiastically accepting of the government telling them how to speak in their own home, instructing them what to watch on TV, or how to vote. Yet, these same people would seem elated to mix their deepest held beliefs with a government who would only seek to use that faith to their own means. It is a frighteningly moronic and almost not worth our time to protect their faith, but I know that my own freedom of belief is the same as theirs. These 33 ultra-right wing Evangelical pastors threatened all of our freedoms with their actions. And that is something for which I cannot stand.

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