The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 12, 2014: Religion Gone Mad

I do honestly believe it is your right, in both the Constitutional and Moral sense, to hold whatever religious beliefs you want inside your own head. You can even exercise those beliefs provided your actions cause no harm to others. I’ll even go so far as to say that, as a private citizen, you have a right to try peacefully to persuade others that your religious beliefs hold a shred of validity. But what you do not have a right to do, in neither the Constitutional nor Moral sense, is force others to accept, or even worse follow, your religious beliefs. And as long as I draw breath in my body, it will always be that way in this country. It ought to be that way around the world.

Now I won’t sit here and say that Religion has never done any Good anywhere in the world. It’s clearly not true. [NOTE: Before continuing, however, I want to make clear that unless otherwise explicitly stated, when I speak of Religion in this post, I am speaking of those Religions which involve the worship of one or more Deities, of varying strengths, abilities, and fetishes.] Throughout history, many people have been motivated by their religious beliefs to treat their fellow human beings with compassion, or to seek an explanation for how things work. Sadly, and undeniably, Religion has motivated people to perform horribly unspeakable acts of inhumanity against their fellow human beings, all in the name of pleasing their particular Deity of Choice. And that’s the dark side of Religion that we Americans don’t like to discuss – the Evil that Men do in the name of Religion. People have been killed because someone else thought they worshiped the wrong gods. Which is really kind of stupid when you think about it, something those religiously-inspired murderers rarely did. These religions often require one to forsake any other gods and worship only a specific one, and not to worship the other gods which they acknowledge exist. They then teach that this one specific god was the one who created everything (including, apparently, all those other powerful gods you aren’t supposed to worship), or that while other gods existed, this one was the only one capable of creating the planet on which we all live. (Some religions – okay maybe just the one – claim that their God proudly claims to be a “jealous God,” but that Jealously is still a mortal sin for human beings because, I don’t know, it’s bad? But okay for a God to have. It’s not just hypocritical, it’s illogical. God is telling you there’s something really bad about Him. But he loves you, and he won’t ever, ever hurt you again. By Flood, anyway.)

Our Constitution prohibits our Congress from passing any law respecting an establishment of Religion. It also extends that protection for the People to each of the States so that no state can pass a law respecting an establishment of Religion. (After all, what would be the point of being an American Citizen with the religious liberty to worship as one pleases if the state within which one lives can force one to practice a different religion?) That same Constitution requires any person holding any office of public trust in the United States, before entering office, to take an oath to support and defend that same Constitution. (I took such an oath. To my knowledge, belief and practice, it had no expiration date.) So it’s reasonable to expect that a person taking such an oath would familiarize him or herself with that same Constitution. So as to not do something stupid like this.

The Great State of South Carolina (which holds the record for most Civil Wars started in our country), has advanced a bill (Pregnant Women’s Protection Act) in a Senate committee that would expand their state’s ill-conceived Stand Your Ground Law to protect unborn children, defined as having started from conception. Opponents argue that the bill is unnecessary, as pregnant women already have the right to use deadly force in self-defense, but proponents claim that this bill is intended to extend that right to the fetus, on the theory that there are things you could do to a pregnant woman that might not be deadly to her, but might be for the unborn fetus. Here’s where I have a problem with the bill (besides its existence).

The bill the panel approved also includes a definition of “unborn child” as “the offspring of human beings from conception until birth.”

Regardless of what its advocates claim, this is nothing but a backdoor attempt to deny women their right to an abortion. And the people that want to do that, almost to a person, want to do so because of their religious beliefs. They are the ones who claim that Life begins at conception, and that the unborn should have the same Constitutional rights as the born. This is absurd. They would be granting rights outside the authorization of the Constitution. It clearly states that all persons born in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein the reside. The key word there, the only one that matters in any discussion of rights, is “born.” You have to be born to have any rights as an American citizen. I recently caught a repeat of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit involving the theft of frozen embryos by activists who felt Life begins at conception. The Assistant District Attorney pointed out that in New York State, Life begins at a baby’s first breath, which is why you couldn’t prosecute a woman for murder who had a stillborn baby (a lesson, BTW, some other states need to learn.) This bill undeniably is an attempt to impose a religious view on the citizens of a state, whether or not they practice that religion. And it is morally reprehensible.

Speaking of morally reprehensible, the Great State of Louisiana is moving forward with making “the Bible” the official book of the state of Louisiana. The bill doesn’t say which version of the Bible would be the official one, because a previous version of the bill that did so met objections from some lawmakers.

Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, said he sponsored the proposal after a constituent made the request. But Carmody insisted the bill wasn’t designed to be a state-endorsement of Christianity or a specific religion.

“It’s not to the exclusion of anyone else’s sacred literature,” he told the House committee. Again, later he said, “This is not about establishing an official religion of the state of Louisiana.”

Except that it is. What Conservative Christians often forget is that not everybody thinks or believes as they do. And they forget that other religions do not refer to their holy books as “the Bible.” In fact, that’s pretty much limited to Christianity (in most of its myriad forms.) Jews do not follow a Bible, nor do Muslims. So saying your state’s “official book” is a sacred text specific to one form of religion is endorsing that religion. How could it not be? When you make something your “official book,” you are, by definition, choosing it to the exclusion of all other books, religious or not. That’s the whole point of making it “official.” It’s like saying your state’s official bird is “the web-footed bird,” but not any specific web-footed bird, then trying to say you’re not endorsing aquatic fowl over all other forms of bird. Of course you are. And if the Constitution read “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of bird,” your official state bird would be unconstitutional. And you couldn’t say it’s not to the exclusion of all other birds (because it is), and you couldn’t say it’s not an endorsement of any particular kind of bird, because it is.

Your religious freedom ends at my body. You have no right, neither Constitutional nor Moral, to force me to accept your religious beliefs as valid or irrefutable. And you have no right to force me to live by those religious beliefs. So stop trying to do so.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss religious freedom, Stand Your Ground, bibles, or anything else you wish to discuss.

47 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 12, 2014: Religion Gone Mad

  1. If ‘Stand Your Ground’ means that if you believe someone is a threat to you, then you have the right to kill them, and that now extends to the fetus, doesn’t it follow that if a pregnant woman believes her baby is a threat to her, isn’t she also justified in killing the fetus? Because if the fetus can kill the mother, but the mother can’t kill the fetus, doesn’t that violate equal protection?

    • If I work on an assembly line in SC, and my boss won’t let me sit down and that breaks, and I believe this will harm my fetus, I can shoot him, right?

  2. I used to have life insurance through the company I worked for. The insurance also covered my children’s lives. To that insurance company, life begins when the baby is 10 days old.

  3. Excellent post, Wayne, and I absolutely agree.

    Got religion? Good for you! Follow it, practice it, live, love, help the poor, hate, or be the biggest bigot on the block — have at it.

    But keep it to yourself. Keep your religion off of our laws and our bodies, and quit knocking on my door, and we can get along just fine.

    One more thing: I respect your right to believe whatever you want, as long as it’s legal, and you’ll never hear me say that you shouldn’t follow your religion, but I expect the same from you. Don’t stand there and tell me that I’m “going to hell” because I don’t believe. It’s not your business, and your “information” is not welcome.

    Believe it or not, the default is not Christian, and by pushing, pushing, pushing your religious beliefs onto EVERYTHING, you are only succeeding in dividing us and ruining anything that was ever good in this country.

    • Wow! The whole thing is idiotic but I particularly like “Judeo-Christian moors” among the spelling and grammar mistakes. The Moors were Muslims!

      • Where was that?

        I’m getting a ‘no data recieved’ every time I click on the Topeka News link in the story. If the site isn’t down, I’m being blocked from that site.

        • I’m still able to access the story. Here’s the whole paragraph.

          “Furious parents and citizens of Oklahoma took to the streets early Thursday, protesting against Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos. Protesters allege the show is blatantly promoting an anti-Creationist agenda and is ‘standing against the Judeo-Christian moors and values of the Saddleback Township community and others nationwide.”

          • I’m considering having Wow! cable internet installed and dumping my Comcast cable TV because it’s gotten too expensive. Then doing a head-to-head comparison for a couple of months.

            • I use DSL through my local phone company and haven’t subscribed to cable in years. I was on the verge of going with satellite TV and internet when they began offering a much faster DSL connection and then I discovered that I can watch just about everything available on TV, at my own convenience, on Hulu or some other net TV service.

    • Not much of a threat. Who cares if they leave? And take Texas with them. Without federal government assistance they’ll be part of Mexico in no time.

    • Just wondering, was the last Cosmos airing during the Dust Bowl years? What kind of sins were going on in Oklahoma back then. Screwing the livestock I guess.

      • If I was afraid that God might smite me with an asteroid because my neighbors are watching a show I don’t like? I would find a new god.

  4. It’s Saturday night! And the Lady in Green is racing at The Lady In Black in about twenty minutes!

    • Went down a lap at lap 35, boyfriend Stenhouse, Jr got the ‘Lucky Dog’ pass back onto the lead lap right in front of her. She kept in front of the lap down cars and another caution just put her back onto the lead lap. If she can just hang in there until the sun goes down, I’m hoping the track can come to her setup as it cools.

    • She finally went down a lap again, but she’s not the only one on her team. Owner Tony Stewart is running right with her a lap down. They are 27th and 28th with 130 laps to go.

    • 90 laps to go, Danica takes the ‘wave around’ to get back on the lead lap. That means she stayed out on a caution and didn’t pit, so Nascar lets the cars ahead of the leader but behind the pace car pass the pace car and form up at the back of the field.

      • And she finished 22nd, on the lead lap! Teammate Kevin Harvick won the race, Tony finished 9th, after being a lap down. Kurt Busch, unfortunately, provided the caution that helped all three of his teammates when he spun and hit the inside wall.

    • Ah, unintended consequences. All my children came home from their DARE indoctrination afraid to take aspirin.

  5. I’ve been following the story of the welfare rancher in Nevada who refused to pay his grazing fees and got a few militia types to come help him protect his entitlement. Some of the stories on the internet have pictures. I can’t see anything on his ranch, or the BLM managed lands he feels entitled to, that would actually feed very many cattle. Do western folks have some magic cattle that live on dirt and air?

    • Big Ass Spider (2013)

      A giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampage the city of Los Angeles. When a massive military strike fails, it is up to a team of scientists and one clever exterminator to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.

      A massive military strike in Los Angeles? Badmoodman, can you evacuate before next Saturday?😀

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