Thursday, April 09, 2015

Freedom FROM Religion--the Unfathomable Consequences of a Religious State

Last evening I watched a PBS Frontline’s broadcast entitled “The Fight for Yemen.” I post it here or below for your interest.

The most alarming battle for Yemen to me is the utter hopelessness of it all as the north and the south fracture into never-ending obliterating sectarian war while the heretofore government leadership of Yemen flees to Saudi Arabia. Houthis (pronounced H-O-U-T-E-E-S) (mostly Shia), Al Qaeda (mostly Sunni) and ISIS too battle for control of a nation strategically important to the US and its Sunni ally Saudi Arabia as well. Even the Saudis are bombing Houthis in Yemen. Much of the Middle East from Syria in the north to Yemen in the south is fractured by sectarian religious violence for power and control. Innocent people, naturally, are caught in the middle of the mind numbing chaos where hundreds have died and hundreds more will die as the chaotic anarchy, nearly impossible to quell, will go on unresolved. Will all the violence end in the establishment of stable nation states for those whose misfortune it is to have been born into a religiously fractured world? I suspect the answer to that for now certainly is no.

"Death to America," "Death to Israel" and "Death to the Jews" is the cacophonous refrain one hears over and over and over again in Yemen. There is, of course, no possibility of negotiation because disputes among religious fanatics in the extreme are impossible to negotiate. Destruction is everywhere.

The know-nothing George W. Bush and his allies for a “New American Century” began a war in Iraq that has been responsible for the destabilization of the Middle East region and the rekindling of a centuries-old religious split between Shia and Sunni Muslims for control of the Islamic world.

Islam is not the only faith where religious extremism abides . There is plenty to go around among orthodox, ultra-orthodox Jews and the mind numbing fanaticism of Fundamentalist Christianity especially within the Republican Party in our own nation.

The purpose of my thoughts now, though, is not illuminating the alliances in the fight for Yemen although one would do well to watch the Frontline broadcast of it but to post my views concerning the dangerous wedding of church and state around the globe.

I had the pleasure several days ago to hear an ad for a group which Ron Reagan, Jr. began. The group is entitled “Freedom FROM Religion” and it can be found at the link here or below. I support Ron Reagan, Jr. in his effort to maintain the separation of church and state. I only wish the father had been more like the son.

Fanatical religious adherence marrying religion and state no matter to which religion its adherents belong is a deep threat to all of us who value civil liberties, free speech questioning and progressive policies honed over decades which help so many.

The Republican Party especially wants to tie our nation to fundamentalist Christianity something our Founders would have thought abhorrent. It is exactly what they did NOT want because they saw in Europe the violence religion tied to the state created. I believe religious fanaticism is the greatest threat not only to our nation but to the entire globe as many join policy loaded with religious superstition and myth to the state while rejecting the truth that only science and academic inquiry can bestow. The offspring of this wedding is a hateful and murderous child.

What religious fanatics want is chilling as they try to reverse progress honed over centuries that accepts the facts of science and learns fanatical religious belief is factually fallacious. Subscription to fanatical religious beliefs and commanding others to believe them affects all of us whether through the denial of human rights to minorities to the denial of climate change and the biological truth of evolution. It retards man’s growth.

Religious fanatics, violent and extreme, want Armageddon and an existential clash of civilizations. If we are not vigilant against this cancer that is exactly what we will get. Freedom FROM religion is what we need because its opposite carries with it the unfathomable consequences of a religious state.

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