the sound and fury of theocratic deity abuse

Fundamentalist Christian zealots are holding prayer meetings to block... uh... expanded healthcare for their fellow Americans?

wooden cross

Here’s a story that seems like a perfect marriage of paranoia, political ridiculousness and a particularly potent strain of religious fundamentalism. Rather then try to produce better health reform bills or to propose any sort of meaningful plans for dealing with healthcare issues in the United States, a very prominent Religious Right group decided to hold an organized evening of prayer to urge God to change the minds of Democrats who’ll be voting on the current health bill. Their justification? The Bible says that prayer affects government and since they have opinions about how laws should be made, they’re going to sway lawmakers by supernatural means and drag our obnoxiously loud, counterproductive, irrational partisan squabbles into the realm of theology.

Yes, it’s awfully hard to have a rational, secular society when millions of people living in the country want a full blown theocracy and will resort to magic in their opposition of laws with which they disagree. We already have politicians who seem immune to reason, merely parroting whatever scaremongering or emotional points the memos sent out by their party said to emphasize. We already have a government which trips over itself when trying to take on a really challenging task other than waging war. Adding fundamentalist religion into the mix is just promoting this dysfunction and ensuring that the federal government could one day be reduced to a multi- trillion dollar mess which acts more like an anchor around our necks than a vehicle for running the nation. Of course, this isn’t to say that religion alone hobbles government performance, but considering that we have a party that lacks the ability to govern competently and a party that’s unable to govern in the first place, religion is likely to be the straw that’s going to break the metaphorical camel’s back.

Think about the idea of petitioning a supernatural entity that watches over the entire universe to descend to an unremarkable little planet in the middle of nowhere and act as your personal sock puppet. And fundamentalist preachers foaming at the mouth over atheists’ arrogance want to call themselves humble after pulling a stunt like this? Imagine being the CEO of a giant Fortune 100 enterprise and being dragged into a fight between a pair of temps about who has a more comfortable chair in her cubicle and whether it’s fair for them to swap if one of them has been at the company one week longer. That’s what Focus on the Family and its drones want to do in the grand scheme of things. Human problems should be solved by humans, not abstractions that are either just the stuff of legend or something on a scale beyond our everyday conception and bearing absolutely no resemblance to the petty dictator of our holy books. If you’re a theist who prays for God to descend into your selfish political affairs and alter the world to your liking, you have no business telling atheists about the virtues of humility since you have none to speak of.

Also, just as an afterthought, could theology professors who regard prominent atheists with contempt, telling them that holding up fundamentalism as being a legitimate example of religion is ignorant, step outside their dusty offices, open their eyes, and realize that there are millions upon millions of people who really do use the supernatural in the ridiculous and arrogant ways Dawkins, Harris and Hitches describe? Pretending that God isn’t being used as a supernatural hammer to beat others into submission does them no favors, it just makes them look completely out of touch with the real world since all we need to do to disprove their assertions that faith consists of ephemeral esoteric ponderings of scholarly minds is to look at the daily headlines.

# politics // government / law / religion / theism


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