Liberal counterparts are quick to inform me how awful (dangerous, controlling, etc.) religion is and that Republicans and the Religious Right seek to implement a theocracy in the US. They are certain a theocracy is the goal. I am certain it is not.
In my state of North Carolina, we have two weak-kneed Republican US senators who would rather be re-elected than solve meaningful problems, not that theocracy is one we want them to tackle in any case. They avoid controversial issues and don’t even support their base’s interests, yet they will change character and take a decisive stand on imposing their brand of religion on the rest of us? Not hardly.
Perhaps Trump will lead this theocracy? He is the de facto Republican leader, but he is not deeply religious as far as I can tell. You may not like him, but is he motivated by imposing religion on the rest of us? He talks about MAGA and brags about his own accomplishments a bit too much while he is also leading a theocratic revolution? No. I can’t see that either.
Furthermore, belief in God among Americans is dramatically on the decline (down from 98% fifty years ago to 81% today). Many believers today speak of being “spiritual” not religious; fewer than half of all Americans attend church regularly (down by half since the 1950s) https://comparecamp.com/church-attendance-statistics/. With such an apparent decline, where is this the public demand for government imposition of religion coming from?
Who will form a political coalition among the disparate religions today, along with the multitude of denominations within each. Which will set the standards? The Reform and Orthodox Jews will forget their differences and join with the Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, and all the rest? The Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists will join in too? This is like herding cats. Still, the professor I debate sees it all so clearly; he cannot believe that I cannot.
Giorgia Meloni and Defending Faith and Values (initial post)
defending-faith-and-values-absolute-lies-discredited (second post)
https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/15107025/posts/83496 (the professor and my full discussion is located here).
The professor claims the following:
You HAVE indeed stated that you support MAGA and Trump and many of their ideologies or platforms, BY DEFAULT you are implying that you are supporting their political agendas… which is to make this nation’s government ‘more religious,’ and especially so… this nation’s social fabric. In fact, the very quote I started my Treatise with is exactly that, I’ll repeat what you wrote: “A lack of religion today seems to me to the bigger problem than too much religion.
In other words, you are implying that MORE religion needs to be infused or incorporated into our nation. Yes?
The professor echoes the Left’s Trump obsession. Apparently, we will all follow Trump off any cliff, no matter what. That notion stems from words Trump used to describe himself, not from conservatives or the religious themselves. We may support Trump’s policies, but our goals are not embodied in a single individual. Trump started a movement which will be carried on by others, but that movement is not a theocracy by any means.
I did indeed say a lack of religion is a problem; however, that is not a call for religion to be infused or incorporated into our government. A collective lack of faith has led to a myriad of contemporary problems: the inability to answer fundamental notions like what it means to be a man or a woman, the lack of critical thinking in education, the destruction of the nuclear family, the destruction of any remnant of traditional institutions, and the steady march towards Marxism, a system which has killed and destroyed far more than religion ever did. America today is balkanized and there is little common ground between the Left and the Right.
The Left’s plan, an abandonment of institutions that previously served us well, is a major problem. Every era certainly had problems which should not be glossed over, but traditional values served us much better than today’s libertine life style, moral relativism, rejection of absolute truth, the elimination of taboo and shame, and the do-whatever-feels-good-lifestyle of today. There is no denying religious institutions misused power previously, yet on balance they brought far more good. Christianity kept knowledge and science alive during the dark ages leading eventually to the rise of Western Civilization during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, a culture superior and more moral than any before or since.
Still, the professor continues:
We can be religious or irreligious PRIVATELY, on private properties, but the people (as a majority) and the federal and state governments CAN NOT force us to be either of the two! That is the private domain of every individual American citizen. Period. But as I think then you and I agree on is that this is NOT the case in America’s current political climate; too much religion IS indeed being forced onto citizens via legislation and government. This there can be no doubt.
The professor and I agree the First Amendment (the Establishment clause) strictly prohibits the creation of a national religion. None of us should be compelled to follow religious or irreligious practices. However, I believe the opposite of the professor regarding today’s political climate: religion is not the aggressor; religion itself is under attack by government and legislation:
- A pro-life activist, father of seven, who counsels potential abortion patients was arrested by 25 FBI agents at his home. The incident, which happened almost a year ago, was a non-issue originally: “Police were called, but Houck was reportedly not charged because there was a “lack of evidence” of an assault.” https://www.theblaze.com/news/prolife-activist-fbi-raid-abortion-clinic
- In Tennessee, 11 were arrested for pro-life protests https://www.theblaze.com/news/tennessee-pro-life-activists-arrested-charged-doj-abortion. “A 29-minute video shows the pro-life protesters lining the walls of the abortion clinic as they sang and prayed. A woman in a wheelchair and two men sat in front of a door.” These folks are dangerous? Government is making an example of these folks?
- Senator Diane Feinstein said to Amy Coney Barrett (before she was nominated to the Supreme Court), “the dogma lives loudly in you” implying following her religious beliefs makes her unfit to serve in government. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/sen-feinstein-grills-catholic-nominee-the-dogma-lives-loudly-within-you.
- Yeshiva University offers: “a unique dual curriculum comprising Jewish studies and liberal arts and sciences courses” A court ruled they must allow a gay pride club. Homosexuality violates their religious doctrine, but the court says Yeshiva is not a true religious institution. https://www.deseret.com/faith/2022/9/2/23333436/yeshiva-university-sued-over-gay-rights
- The Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor were threatened with fines for their health care policy which not did pay for contraceptive care; contraception violates Catholic doctrine. After years of litigation, the sisters won in the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas wrote: “the past seven years, they—like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision— have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
- Numerous Catholic dioceses ended adoption placements because their states want them to adopt to gay couples, yet another violation of religious doctrine. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/39219/after-95-years-ny-rules-end-catholic-adoption-and-foster-services-in-buffalo
- Colorado baker Jack Phillips has been sued multiple times for refusing to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages. He also won at the Supreme Court, but is still a target because of his religious beliefs. https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2022/october/jack-phillips-back-in-court-again-fighting-ruling-over-gender-transition-cake
The founders openly expressed religious thoughts and religion influenced their thinking, but they did not impose their religious beliefs on others. They also mandated there be no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, a clause often neglected by liberals. The examples above show that government is forcing the religious among us to accept the contemporary notions which run counter to religious beliefs, exactly what the professor says it should NOT do.
What’s the Evidence?
I blame today’s cultural devolution on the Left’s imposition of tyrannical government and its perverted ideas of social justice. Do what you will in your bedroom or elsewhere; we can’t and won’t attempt to stop you. Still, the Right’s unwillingness to accept the imposition of new fangled progressive notions on gender, race, climate, abortion, liberty, religion, etc. creates the friction between the two sides. We have always civilly disagreed on tax cuts, the size of the budget, and foreign policy, but the rapidly widening cultural divide is the real problem. The Right is attacked simply because it won’t affirm the Left’s progressive ideology.
America needs a spiritual revolution, not a political one. Too many religious institutions today are lukewarm even on spiritual matters. Where is the evidence they or the political Right are leading us to a theocracy? Still, the professor insists the Right champions theocracy. Abortion, book banning, LGBTQ rights, recent court cases, and party platforms are the evidence he provided.
The perfect prime example of this corruption of our Charters of Freedom is what Jill frequently voices herself about: the overturning and banning attempts of Roe v Wade on mostly religious grounds. That decision for a woman is strictly PRIVATE! Period. And Roe v Wade is merely ONE example of how specific political demographics in this nation are unlawfully trying to MERGE Church and State.
Aha! Abortion is an issue of morality, not religion. One’s morality, whether religious or not, can lead easily lead to opposition of abortion. Many religious people even support abortion– or at least look the other way (I know several) while some atheists oppose it for non-religious reasons. Many Republicans as well support abortion. I broke down the numbers in this post:
- Only about 10% of Americans would ban all abortions. Most Americans (63%) are somewhere in the middle: restrict abortions in the late stages, but allow it in the early stages.
- 35% of all Republicans in a national poll said they disagreed with their party’s stance on abortion. Interestingly, nearly 30% of Democrats don’t agree with their party’s position on abortion either.
- Nearly 40% of Republicans in Kansas voted against a bill to limit abortions. Kansas Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1, but they still dramatically failed to pass this bill.
These divided Republicans are imposing their view of abortion on the professor? Only 10% of Americans would restrict all abortions, but eight times as many believe in God. That’s a very weak correlation.
Last week, for one hour I held a pro-life sign for passers-by on a street corner in my town. Our town has dozens of churches, but ours was the only one with a contingent that day. Maybe sixty people protested. There was no rain and temperatures were in the 60’s, nothing to keep people away. Why do so few actively protest? We, the small contingent holding signs and softly reciting the rosary for one hour, subjecting ourselves to middle fingers from a few narrow-minded individuals, are the ones imposing religion on you?
Further, the professor has a fundamental misunderstanding of the recent Supreme Court ruling; it is far more congruent with Constitutional principles than Roe v Wade ever was. Roe v. Wade was decided by nine people. Today, after it’s overturning, abortion is decided by the voters in each of the states. The court erased an un-democratic, un-Constitutional decision and returned sovereignty to the people.
The professor would have a better argument if abortion was banned nationwide by the court, but it is not. The Supreme Court returned to the decision to the people.
Overturning Roe v Wade: a Return to Federalism and Democracy
My view on abortion IS influenced by my faith, yet there are non-religious arguments against abortion. Do only religious people condemn Hitler’s holocaust of the Jews? Any logical thinker would condemn Hitler as well as America’s holocaust of children. I am told I don’t care about women (I want to control them, take away their freedom, or some other nonsense) or I don’t care about children after they are born. The professor and others pretend they can’t possibly see why I might interpret abortion as murder.
“My body, my choice” is lawyer-like sophistry as well. Abortion is not about bodily autonomy. There are two lives: twenty fingers and twenty toes, not ten of each.
What about America’s economic security? Keeping social security solvent, paying future bills, having new generations support the aging ones? How can America survive economically when we abort one in every five pregnancies and the fertility rate continues to plummet? Without immigration, our country would be losing population (and these concerns would be far worse).
What great minds, perhaps one that might have conquered cancer, were destroyed because of this obsession with “choice”? What great innovations never happened?
Still, the professor will not acknowledge any moral or economic consequence. He ignores our moral outrage and pretends we are misogynists using religion to control others. He does not acknowledge the Supreme Court made neither a religious nor a moral decision, but simply supported our Constitutional principles. My whole argument disappoints the professor:
But alas… oh well.
Further, my view on abortion IS influenced by my religious view.
EXACTLY! And that is the case with most all Conservative Right Republicans. Their viewpoint is NOT based on the hard scientific facts and data. And yet, those same people do indeed wish to impose their particular religious views onto MY (Secular, Neutral?) federal, state, county, and municipal governments and it legislation enforcement. Why? Because as you imply here with that statement, you and far too many Judeo-Christian Conservative Righters CANNOT keep ‘Church and State Separate.’
Not based on science? Is not a potential life ended? 63 million potential lives were ended by abortion the last fifty years. The population would be far greater today if not for abortion. Is this not a scientific fact?
Further, why can’t one be both religious and American? I choose to be a faithful Catholic and a loyal American. One aspect of my life certainly influences another, but why is that a problem? The professor implies I cannot belong to two distinct groups without one association unduly corrupting the other. How does he figure this? Is it answered by more science?
Perfect example, women who should have the choice to an abortion within the first 5-7 weeks of pregnancy when there is no heartbeat or brain-activity by the fetus. But in this era of neo-Evangelism, neo-Fundamentalism, and Christian Nationalism invading and infringing upon private individuals by Right-leaning government is happening more often, too often. A lot more often than say 30-50 years ago!
Science says the heartbeat starts in three weeks (not 5-7), often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Even so, what difference does an arbitrary time frame make? Life will continue in most instances if not interrupted by abortion. Will it not? Why should it be acceptable to end a life at one point, but not another? Does science contradict this notion?
Infanticide was accepted practiced of many great civilizations. The Ancient Greeks and the Romans, the dominant cultures of their time, abandoned unwanted children, leaving them to die of exposure. Would the professor continue to stretch the boundaries of acceptability to this level? Is our civilization progressing or just regressing back to the mean?
Consider the words of former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam explaining what should happen if a baby is unintentionally born alive.
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” he said. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Are pro-lifers controlling women and ending liberty or are we avoiding the awful slippery slope?
What’s the Real Problem for You?
All of us profess beliefs in things without ever testing those beliefs. Few admit to even having such beliefs. What beliefs do you hold on to without really understanding why? A moment of introspection could save a few lives.
Would you take time to examine abortion closely? Would you retain your pro-choice beliefs if tested by the harsh reality many pro-choice folks have never seen or experienced? Is it better to avoid that reality and hold on to the belief you are comfortable with?
A Child is Not a Choice
Abortion is not “health care” for the child, the child many never acknowledge has any rights whatsoever. Nor is it a “protection of women’s rights”. Abortion is the convenience of dispensing with others who make our lives harder, the convenience of eliminating the consequences of not-so-good behavior, especially promiscuous sexual behavior.
For nearly fifty years, Republicans proudly proclaim their pro-life stance while doing almost nothing to restrict or end abortion. They like the issue because it gets them votes. God forbid the issue is solved; they would have to find other issues to attract voters or potentially lose voters to the other party. These stalwarts are the politicians you say are trying to impose their religious will on others? Great moderates in history. This is not the stuff of revolutions.
Mississippi’s new law, the one used to overturn Roe v Wade, restricts abortions at 15 weeks. It doesn’t even end abortions in Mississippi. This lukewarm restriction of abortion is what the Left claims is the end of liberty and women’s rights in the US?
The Washington Post: Is The United States One Of Seven Countries That ‘Allow Elective Abortions After 20 Weeks Of Pregnancy?’ Only seven of the 59 countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, the group found: Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Even after the end of Roe v. Wade, the US remains with these paragons of liberty at the far end of the spectrum. Eight US states and DC allow abortions right up to nine months. How can such a decision be good or healthy for any mother? Maybe science can tell us more about that?
John MacArthur Addresses Governor Newsom – YouTube
The professor said the recent Bremerton vs. Kennedy court case is another example of religious overreach. A high school football coach who prayed at midfield after games, and was eventually joined by players was fired from his job for violation of the religious Establishment Clause. I covered this in a recent post:
The coach’s lawyer correctly points out this case is actually the State versus an individual: the school board vs Coach Kennedy. The coach did not act on behalf of the State; he did not attempt to further one religion over others. The coach is clearly not seeking to further a theocracy which will dictate its own morality to American citizens. There is no such theocracy. This claim folks are imposing religion and moral values upon an unwilling public is consistently raised by those against the free exercise of religion. We have an individual exercising his own faith, not a church ingratiating itself within the state, attempting to assume the power of the state. The individual is standing up for his own rights while the state actually opposes his actions. For the state to prevail, it must prove the coach went beyond his free exercise of religion and unduly used his authority to influence players. They were unable to do that, so instead they claimed a sinister, unstated intent: the coach is imposing his own religion on others.
The professor mentioned book banning as another example, but didn’t say much else on the topic. This is a new canard conjured up from the Left. There are a slough of stories about the Right’s banning of books, but as far as I can tell, these are parents who object to schools with sexually explicit books, books kids are not yet ready for. Sometimes, the schools also want to force values on kids that run directly counter to parents’ values. Raising these objections are not the same as promoting book banning. Nobody wants to ban these books for all Americans.
On the other hand, several Dr. Seuss books were banned by Leftist corporate America–banned for all of us.
The Left also objects to books like Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird because of their use of the “N word”. This term was common at the times of publication, yet these two novels were actually ahead of their times in championing for rights of American blacks.
Religion’s supposed discrimination against LGBTQ+ folks is another example the professor throws out. My church has been told it hates gay people, but they are, in fact, welcome in church; they are no worse sinners than the rest of us. We simply will not say gay sex or transgenderism is moral.
The church cannot do its job if it affirms any sin is acceptable. Our church encourages the faithful to confess all sins. If there is a particular sin you cannot confess, the Church is concerned for your soul, no matter the sin. Our church (which represents more than one billion people worldwide) is not asking the professor or anyone else outside of our faith to conform to our rituals for confessing sins. However, he says our speaking out against sin is imposing our religion on others?
I object to the actions of this trans man; he is a shop teacher who displays massive fake breasts to students for perverted reasons I do not want to consider. He needs professional help, and should not to have his fetishes affirmed. He can engage his fantasies away from school and our kids. Objecting to the normalization of this perverted behavior is imposing our religion on others?
Muslim parents in Dearborn Michigan recently objected to the gender indoctrination in our schools. Perhaps the protest went over the top, but there should be as many Christian parents organizing protests against school boards which actively seek to undermine parental values. https://ussanews.com/2022/10/14/michigan-dearborn-muslims-protest-lgbtq-agenda-at-school-board-meeting-muslim-leader-calls-protest-very-embarrassing/
Father Mike Schmitz in plain language explains the problems with the transgender agenda and the compassion the Catholic Church has for transgenders.
Fr. Mike Schmitz Tackles the Transgender Question In This Helpful Video | (churchpop.com)
They belong, but we still cannot affirm their sexual behavior is good. Father Mike says:
we walk with them on their journey”. This simple view is not accepted. People lie about our views because we are perceived as enemies.
God help this child below.
Are these simple words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church hateful and a platform for theocracy?
2357 tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Under no circumstance can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
2359 By virtues of self-mastery that teach them [persons with same-sex attraction] inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection
The professor also objects to references to God and family in the Republican party platform. I offer my counter first and end with the professor’s rant.
The Republican party clearly appeals to America’s many religious voters. Their interests should be ignored because the professor doesn’t agree with the Republican platform’s generic, plain vanilla, religious references? Until recently, 98% of all Americans believed in God. Why wouldn’t this belief be affirmed?
The party stands for liberty, but where does liberty come from? If liberty is a man-made concept we are in deep trouble because anything which comes from man can be easily taken away. However, if liberty is from God, it is not in mankind’s purview to take it away. This is the point of emphasizing the connection between God and liberty. Liberty is eternal and transcendent; it should never be restricted.
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews all believe in a supreme God. The platform makes no distinction among these major religions when it comes to God-given liberty. All religious, not simply Christians, can sing God Bless America, without violating their own religious beliefs. No religion is limited or excluded in the platform quotes below. I can’t accept the professor’s argument at all.
The professor’s rant follows:
“The principles of the Republican Party recognize the God-given liberties…”
What God or which God? Or of which particular Faith and Followers? There are about 5-6 major Faiths or religions in the today’s world? Is the RNC referring to the ‘Higher power’ inferred by our Founding Fathers and in the Charters of Freedom they created, drafted, framed, and was ratified by the states? THAT particular “God” or Higher-power had no precise designation to any of the 5 or 6 major world religions; not even in 1781. Therefore, what exactly does the RNC mean by “God-given”? More importantly, if there IS no precise designation of what/which God in all the Charters of Freedom our Core Founding Fathers drew-up, then how can our federal and state governments and officials remain truly NEUTRAL—as intended by our Core Founding Fathers—in matters of governing a people of several Gods, Faiths, or none of the former, i.e. the “irreligious” as mentioned above earlier!?
From the RNC’s 2016 Platform Preamble:
Every time we sing, “God Bless America,” we are asking for help. We ask for divine help [what precisely do they mean: divine?] that our country can fulfill its promise.
Does the RNC mean help from ALL the world’s major religions? Or do they mean an exclusive group, faith, and religion which would be in direct contradiction/opposition to what our Core Founding Fathers actually intended?
From the RNC’s 2016 Platform – Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary p. 19:
We pledge to defend the religious beliefs and rights of conscience of all Americans and to safeguard religious institutions against government control.
What religion specifically are they defending, protecting, and promoting? All 5-6 of the world’s major religions EQUALLY, EQUITABLY and non-religious? Pfffft! Right. In this portion of their platform the RNC goes on to elaborate on the First Amendment: Religious Liberty. I found it to be hypocritical based upon the vitriol rhetoric and behavior by the political Right to non-Judeo-Christians and irreligious that our Founding Fathers speak about.
And in the portion of the RNC’s 2016 Platform entitled Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice, specifically sub-section “Marriage, Family, and Society,” …
Strong families, depending on God and one another, advance the cause of liberty by lessening the need for government in their daily lives.
This description of America’s families, relationships, and social activity under a massively VAGUE word as “God” I found utterly jokable! If the Conservative religious Right wasn’t constantly trying to thwart, harass, discriminate against (et al) Americans who are NOT Christian or like themselves, then we wouldn’t need so much refereeing, umpiring, authoritative mediating by government agencies! This platform by the RNC is so blatantly hypocritical it’s a wonder I didn’t have an aneurysm reading it!
Again, I know what is easily inferred by their use of the words “God,” “divine,” “Creator,” etc, but instead of intentionally avoiding and deceiving Americans (new ones included) with those vague terms, why not just be honorable, transparent and say EXACTLY what you mean by those religious/spiritual terms! Quit the deceptive word-play and SAY IT: my own Christianity! Not your foreign religion!
We do NOT need to persist with religious exclusions or dividing apart religious peoples and irreligious peoples, the latter being a fast growing population along with Islam and Muslims.
“If the Conservative religious Right wasn’t constantly trying to thwart, harass, discriminate against (et al) Americans who are NOT Christian or like themselves, then we wouldn’t need so much refereeing, umpiring, authoritative mediating by government agencies and more legislation to keep out religious-based laws!”
Where does the professor show evidence of this harassment and discrimination? What legitimate evidence does he provide of an American theocracy on the rise? I still haven’t seen it.
For more on these topics discussed:
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