A tad askew from the traditional view

Sunday, November 27, 2005


When I was a youngster, we studied the science of evolution in public school, and the Bible story of creation, now called Intelligent Design, in Sunday school. There was no pressure to select one over the other, although, even at that very tender age, we easily came to the conclusion that the Bible story was anything but "intelligent."

Today, parents are beginning to turn the tables on this small facet of growing up and the implications are enormous. Let's look, for a moment, at the world's most irksome trouble spots - the specific areas where problems and conflicts never seem to go away, where other countries inevitably have to get involved to keep the situation from boiling over, and where incredible amounts of time and money are repeatedly wasted in failed attempts to arrive at solutions - in other words, lets look at Northern Ireland and the Middle East. The one common element that these hotspots have in common is that the nations involved have intermingled their religions with their politics. In the case of Northern Ireland, it was the British that sowed the seeds of continuing chaos over 100 years ago by providing financial and military support to the protestant minority, thus enabling them to hold power over the catholic majority. And in the Middle East, the heat of religious fervor continuously inflames the political process. In fact, across the wide belt of Islam, stretching from Algeria to the Philippines, which, by its very nature, merges religion with politics, chaos is fast becoming a greater part of daily life. Ironically, the one country in that area that did have a secular system was Iraq, but our military campaign has made it likely that the religious majority there will ultimately take over that government as well.

Religion certainly has a proper place in society, but it is a cancer in the healthy functioning of the political process. Our forefathers, with memories of religious persecution in England, saw this and carefully provided for the separation of church and state in our constitution. Yet today, in what is supposedly the most advanced country on earth, the religious fundamentalists in America - who, surprisingly, may account for as much as 38% of the population (according to a Pew Forum survey, which I personally and hopefully doubt) - want to force all youngsters to learn about Intelligent Design in the public schools, a huge erosion in the concept of separation, and a clear violation of the rights of those families who do not wish to be exposed to or pay for the teaching of someone else's religious beliefs. And any progress made by these fundamentalists will undoubtedly only whet their appetites for more political power.

The matter will be resolved in various courts, and where there are conservative judges involved, we should be concerned about the outcome. These conservative judges like to tell us that they are strict interpreters of the constitution, and that they are guided by the "intent" of the framers, but we hear no complaints from them about the fact that the American voter has been disenfranchised by the monied interests. And more to the point,it has become increasingly apparent that many of these conservative judges share the same views as the fundamentalists, which poses the threat that their beliefs may come to influence their decisions, in clear conflict with the constitution.

As our courts become increasingly more conservative under various Republican administrations, we should be concerned - very concerned.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home