On Faith: Religious Right must be ignored

The majority of Americans think that theirs is a "Christian Nation." Many Americans are indeed Christians, and many citizens who hold this view belong to the Religious Right that believes in social conservatism. Wikipedia says that social conservatism "is a political or moral ideology that believes that government has a role in encouraging or enforcing what they consider traditional values or behaviors."

Some liberals think that the Religious Right is out to do one thing: overthrow Roe v. Wade. This may be true, but let's take it one step farther. In what-if situations like this, I often take the outcome to more of an extreme to see if this really is a slippery slope.

Let's take the Reconstructionists. These militant Christians essentially want to throw away the Constitution and replace it with Old Testament law — basically making themselves into the American Taliban. Reconstructionists believe that if we don't follow God's law, then all cultures on Earth will self-destruct. They also believe in Postmillennialism, a Christian eschatological belief that God's kingdom began at the first coming of Jesus Christ, and that it will advance progressively throughout history until it fills the whole Earth through conversion to the Christian faith and world view.

Does this sound a bit like Islam's dictate? We know Islam is gaining ground in many countries. I can foresee a worldwide conflict here if reconstructionists got their way in America. I am so glad that the Religious Right does not hold this position.

If the Religious Right, which wants a "Christian Nation" as their "End Game," did manage to throw away the 1st Amendment and half of the Constitution, which Christian sect would govern that theocracy? Catholics, who presently have much power in Congress? The Protestants, who have more than 36,000 sects in America? Would they force all Americans to abide by their superstitious traditions? The in-fighting would be gargantuan, even compared with today's tumultuous non-partisan climate.

Let's say that sometime in the future, a Religious Right politician becomes president. Do we really want someone close to the nuclear button if that person believes in the revelations of the Bible? Even George W. Bush said God told him to go to war in the Middle East. This stuff is scary!

Recently I heard a pastor from San Juan Capistrano say that we don't have to worry about nuclear war because the Bible says America will not be involved in the "final" war. It will take place in the Middle East, he said. Excuse me? Is reading a 2,000-year-old text a good political strategy in today's nuclear world? Will America stay out of a nuclear war if there is one? I think not. I think the next nuclear attack will surely involve the US. And it will definitely be backed by religionists.

Is the "End Game" of the Religious Right about forcing citizens to believe and behave how the majority does through social conservatism? Yes, it is.

This is a slippery slope, indeed. I'll have to borrow the words of Christopher Hitchens, referring to the freedoms most industrialized countries have: Aren't you glad you can't be made to believe that? Aren't you glad there's no theocracy any more within range of you that can make you believe that? Do you know what it's like living in countries where you can be made to believe it? Do you know what the penalties are for not believing it? They're just exactly congruent with the stupidity of the belief itself.

Let's not become a country where we have to "believe that." Let's not become a country where the majority makes laws against behavior, beliefs or non-beliefs. Let's not become a country where the minority opinion is crushed beneath the feet of religious zealots posing as "do gooders." From what I can see, the Religious Right wants only three things: money, power and control.

I am very happy, and you should be, too, that you aren't forced to believe that. We must keep religion and state separate.

BRUCE GLEASON is director of the Freethought Alliance.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World