(originally published by OpEdNews)
A few weeks ago, a former colleague phoned me. He retired a few years ago and decided to move from Connecticut to Texas, where no income tax is paid.
When we worked together, we didn’t speak much about politics or religion. I suspected that he and I didn’t see eye to eye in those arenas and, while we worked together, I merely assumed we respected the fact that those subjects could interfere with our amiable working relationship.
Even though I picked up on our potential different world views, it seems that he did not. When he phoned me, after we hadn’t spoken for about four or five years, he informed me that he had joined the Tea Party. I wasn’t shocked that he joined one of the Tea Party organizations. However, I was shocked that he hadn’t picked up on the fact that I would not be a person for whom that information would be “good news” or even impressive. I just thought that there was an obvious undertone that, although we each loved our jobs and gave 110%, as they say in sports, we realized we didn’t agree on politics, at the very least. I guess he didn’t know much about my “faith” because I really never talked about it.
When he said he’d joined the Tea Party, I said, “Well, I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree. You see, I’m a member of the Socialist Party of the United States.” He mentioned something about this being America and how we’re entitled to support whatever political ideology we choose to support.
He then said, “This country is losing its faith in god. If this country completely turns away from god, we’ll be in a lot of trouble.”
I told him that I am an atheist and, again, he spoke about America being the land of the free. I do, however, believe that my responses to his two announcements came as somewhat of a shock to him. He said those things in such a tone as to lead me to believe he expected supportive answers.
I told him that I sometimes write for OpEdNews and that I have a mailing list. I asked him if he’d want to join the list and he said, “Sure. It’s good to hear both sides of the story.”
Since he’s joined the list, I’ve only written two articles and have sent them to my mailing list. One is entitled “Teabaggers; Children of the Sixties” and the other, “Here’s Tea in Your Eye”. I suspect that the articles led him to do some introspection. Maybe the introspection brought him to the conclusion that I wasn’t really born in The FUSA or that I am possibly a secret Muslim. Although he never commented on my articles, I’m sure he harbored some thoughts.
The fact that he’s a Tea Party member - I’ll be respectful to him because he’s been nothing but respectful to me - isn’t what bothers me the most about what he said. It’s when he said that Americans were losing their faith in god that I almost said something disrespectful. However, I thought about it and decided to answer him and anyone else who thinks our problems stem from our turning our backs on god. Ultimately, and I will ultimately get to it, I’m afraid that he doesn’t realize that this secular nation has actually ratcheted up its promotion of religion and it’s done nothing but divide us. This is just one reason I refer to this nation as The Formerly United States of America. We aren’t united anymore. In fact, with the exception of when several states actually seceded from the Union, we may be more divided today than at any other time in our history and I believe that the misguided idea that we are a Christian nation has exacerbated the division.
It’s true that there were many debates before the final draft of The Constitution was ratified and there were delegates to that convention who believed that we should have said more in The Constitution about god and even mention the mythical Jesus. I don’t know how close we came to being a theocracy, as is Iran and several other “model nations”, but I feel fortunate that people like Jefferson, Madison and Paine won out.
It’s true that about 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. This is obviously a large majority of Americans. However, 75% does not equal 100%. Everyone who is a citizen of The FUSA is not a Christian.
So, my answer to my ex-colleague would have been, “About which god is it that you’re referring? On which god have Americans turned their backs? Is it the god of the Jewish Torah, the god of the Judeo/Christian Bible, the god of Islam? Which god are we disrespecting?”
I believe my colleague is Catholic. Consequently, he probably would have pointed out that there’s only one true god and that’s the god that sent part and parcel of himself in the incarnation of what he calls his son to this planet to be brutalized because human beings the world over had been sinning. How would our fellow Americans of the Jewish faith feel about that? How would Muslims feel about that? All three religions sprung from the same Abrahamic myth. If you’ve forgotten, that myth has it that the particular god in which my colleague believes asked a man to kill his son as proof that he was faithful to, well, to the god who requested the execution. Abraham did all of the prep work to burn his only son because he heard voices telling him to do so.
Imagine the pain, suffering and anguish this man had to endure in preparing to sacrifice his son to god. This, of course, doesn’t even touch upon the fear the son must have felt when he saw what was up. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn’t talked about much at that time, but I bet dollars to burnt flesh that this test of Abraham’s fear of god hung around both Abe’s and Isaac’s minds for the rest of their lives. For centuries, free thinkers have asked what kind of being would go that far to find out if a human being was really afraid of it. I think they call that being a psychopath today. If it’s this god that we are turning away from, then we’re doing the right thing.
Infanticide not only done in the name of god or at the behest of god, but by god itself, is written into the "good books". Here’s one of many instances of that sick ritual. Maybe sociopath fits better, I don’t know.
Of course, there was the flood. God obviously based this action upon a poll he had ordered of all of humanity, even those who lived in places that those in today’s Middle East wouldn’t hear about for millennia.
Of all of the people living upon the earth, god’s poll must have shown that fewer than 50% of all human beings weren’t behaving themselves. So, instead of saving the 49% that were, god ordered a great rain which turned into a great flood which wiped out all but one family and, supposedly, two of every kind of creature which inhabited the earth. Noah, his family and some animals got to float atop god’s great flood while innocent men, women and children, even infants, and helpless animals, were drowned to death, one of the slowest and most frightening forms of death.
There’s no amount of good in the rest of the entire Judeo/Christian Bible that can make up for the very few instances to which I’ve referenced here. No sermon on a mount, no helping his favorites, The Israelites, no amount of good resides in that wicked book that should make those who are enamored of the death penalty feel that god shouldn’t be injected with the most hideous of fatal drugs or hung from the neck until dead.
So, the question, again, is this the god on whom we’ve turned our backs? Is this what’s going to get America into trouble? I might believe it if I believed that this particular being, as anthropomorphized in those sick publications, really existed. I would believe it because this sick mother can cause some trouble, even for those who don’t deserve it.
I don’t believe my colleague was referring to Allah, the Muslim god, birthed, by the way, from the same Abrahamic rubbish.
Here’s the catch 22 as I see it.
No one in his or her right mind would prefer to be in a state of war as opposed to a state of peace.
However, most of us in our right minds are, like it or not, in a state of war. Those who are playing with this state are perpetuating it as part of their games.
The leaders of The FUSA lie and rile up people who, subsequently, revert to pre-civilized instinctive behavior. However, the so called holy books were written after the dawn of civilization and they contain descriptions of acts which today’s human beings should look upon as pre-civilized acts. Not only are these acts supported by the various gods of the books, but, in many cases, they’re committed by the so called creator(s) of civilization him (them) selves.
Religion is looked upon as very civilized. In order to belong to the leadership of the most populous organized religions, one has to attend many years of university and seminary study. Yet, once the leadership of many of these religions graduate and become ordained leaders, they begin to support some of the most horrendous and horrific acts visited upon the human race.
They also support the books’ content that those who do not believe in the books’ messages aren’t worthy of life. Some of it is in reference to some kind of afterlife, but much of it deals directly with our earthly existence. The words “heathen” and “infidel” thread their way through these books of faith and people who have spent life times studying and learning exhort their followers to believe that these books hold the reality of a successful existence. The existence, again, will not only successfully bring you eternal happiness after death, but guidelines tell the followers what is and is not a successful earthly existence.
In The Torah, The Christian Bible and The Quran, having enemies is as natural as breathing. Warnings against those who don’t believe are constantly issued. Mass murder or genocide is shown to be a legitimate way to solve problems.
Governments tell lies and not only rile up people who revert to pre-civilized instinctive behavior, but rile up people who use these horrible, hate and violence filled books to justify tossing away civilized behavior, allowing pre-civilized instinct to motivate them.
Supporters of the holy books say that they can be interpreted however one wishes to interpret them. They all point to sections of their books which call for love and tolerance. They don’t deny that the books encourage their followers to destroy those with whom they disagree; they merely say that, along with the unthinkable, there is good.
Let’s see what happens if we use this logic in the case of an abused wife. Say to her, “Sure, he becomes violent at times and beats you. Yes, he’s broken your limbs as well as your spirit. But let’s not forget who drives you to the emergency room and kisses your forehead, telling you that everything will be all right. It’s he, for he is a kind and loving husband.”
We’re at war now. We were in a state of war for the greater part of the twentieth century and we’re not starting the twenty-first century much better.
Although they didn’t get the attention that antiwar protestors received during the Vietnam War or are receiving today, people did march against World War I, World War II and Korea. There were marches and arrests. Protestors didn’t join the violence. They protested peacefully and the wars ended when the game players were damn well ready to end them.
It’s said that protests became too intense in the late sixties and early seventies to ignore and this played a large role in ending the Vietnam conflict. But the Vietnam conflict didn’t begin in the late sixties and the early seventies. It began, really, in the late fifties and early sixties and was going on even before that. 58,000 US military personnel died during what we call The Vietnam War.
Do we not believe that there are people in The FUSA who want peace and freedom in much the same way as Mahatma Gandhi wanted it? Are there not people who’ve starved themselves in an attempt to end the occupations in Iraq or Afghanistan?
I submit that, if Mahatma Gandhi was an American here today, protesting our involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan, no one in the world would have even heard of him. Those in control during his imprisonment allowed his name and actions to leak to the public.
What would the so called governments in Washington have done with a Mahatma Gandhi or a Martin Luther King Jr. during the past twenty years or so? Those governments would have kept them very quiet and there’d be Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity, etc. attempting to make them look like fools and the pre-civilized book readers would be sending them hate mail - hate emails.
If there are people like Gandhi in the FUSA today, most Americans don’t know them. Even when people like Cindy Sheehan or David Swanson try to lead peaceful protests and get an “audience” with even the least important member of The FUSA’s government, the public is non-supportive.
We have to forget about Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer today. They are no longer with us and, if they were, their actions would not be made public. Not only would the government of The FUSA make sure they remained unknown, they could never gather a following in today’s world. There are too many people who see wanting peace as being too “liberal” or as appeasing our enemies.
So, to come full circle in this article, Americans aren't getting into trouble nor will they get into trouble for turning their backs on “the spirit in the sky”. Americans are getting into trouble for turning their backs on America.
“Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?” - Blaise Pascal