Friday, January 23, 2015

Spare Me the Hatred Couched in Pious Platitudes

I received one of those emails today with a cartoon about pledging allegiance to the flag, etc. that was just a cute way to promote ideological hatred. I will NOT repost it here.
This is the kind of email that serves only to foster hate and divisiveness in an already polarized country. Hatred of minorities couched in patriotism and “christianity” is particularly insidious. Such tactics can be and are often used to target other minorities and groups as well, so beware if you fall into a unpopular category.
Other emails tout the glory of the “good old days” but let us not forget that the Italians, the Irish, Catholics, Mormons, Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos, Polish, Jews and many other ethnic and religious minorities were ostracized, beaten, murdered, and discriminated against for no other reason than the fact that they were somehow “different” than the prevailing majority.
In many respects, ours is a disgraceful history. As Americans we should have learned by now to not only tolerate others but to embrace our differences. We are a nation of immigrants, a so-called melting pot. People from all races and ethnicities and religious persuasions have contributed to America’s greatness. 
Furthermore, our constitution prohibits the establishment or primacy of any religion by the government and at the same time cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. 
"Separation of church and state" (sometimes "wall of separation between church and state") is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (Wikipedia) 
And regrettably, religion has often been and often continues to be used as a tool of hatred and to justify hatred and discrimination. Religion, when used as such, is done a great disservice. 
In my opinion, people who use veiled references to religion (and/or patriotism) to promote hatred of other religions or groups of people are, to put it bluntly, hypocrites. 
And, as I said earlier, such tactics are regularly used to attack any other group that a particular religious “practitioner” deems an infidel or sinner. Fundamentalism of any kind — Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or otherwise — are all similarly intolerant and dangerous. 
And for anyone on this list who is gay or lesbian, or bi or trans, doesn’t this strike you as scary and frightening? Replace the word “Muslim” with “gay” or “lesbian” - doesn’t the hatred then sound familiar?
Go ahead and believe in “your” God, practice “your” religion, but don’t make laws that make me a part of it. 
And don’t think that just because YOU believe a certain way, that makes you morally superior or gives you the right to discriminate against me or others. That is NOT what America is about.
So circulate your pious platitudes to your heart’s content. But don’t expect me to just smile and not to call out hypocrisy when I see it.
I’m tired of hatred couched in sentimental crap and phony religious piety. AMEN.

4 comments:

Mitchell is Moving said...

Amen and hallelujah!... Oops...

Right on!

A distant cousin posted that same idiocy about "the pledge" on Facebook, emphasizing "Under God" and completely oblivious to the fact that that phrase wasn't added until the 1950s as a result of Joseph McCarthy's evil activities.

I was telling a young-ish Spanish friend about that post and he was astounded that American children were required to take an oath of allegiance to their FLAG every day. He asked me why. I don't have an answer.

Frank said...

So much ritual is completely devoid of reason.

Bob Slatten said...

"Go ahead and believe in “your” God, practice “your” religion, but don’t make laws that make me a part of it."

My sentiments exactly.

Russ Manley said...

I hear you, Frank. Truth is, so much of what passes for religion is really not about God or spirituality at all - it's just tribalism, a way of marking off "Our Kind" from the icky folks who don't belong in the camp. Us vs. Them. Which misses the point of spirituality entirely.

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