Politics and Religion:  Intertwined

Chuck Doswell - 21 January 2011

Last week’s American Heathen had a decidedly political leaning and I found myself wondering if we’d shifted from being a show mostly about atheism to being just another political program, to join the myriads of rantings on all sides by seemingly endless hordes of people with political grievances to air.  So I griped to RJ about that.

But, upon further review … I retract my complaint.  The fact is that politics and religion in many countries, including the USA, are inextricably coupled.  In nations with one predominant religious orientation - be it christian, muslim, or jewish – it seems that the majority seeks to impose itself on any minorities within their political reach.  I needn’t enumerate all the examples of this.  They’re so many, so varied, and so evident that I don’t need to provide any supporting material for that.

In the United States, the predominant flavor is christian and it’s obvious to me that many of these christians have become increasingly aggressive in wanting to thrust their views, their customs, their beliefs, and their morals on all of us.  There’s one political party that has evolved so far from its egalitarian roots of the Civil War era that it now is pursuing a wide variety of efforts to impose itself on everyone.  We at American Heathen now refer to it as the "christian nationalist party" (the GOP).

What does the word “conservative” bring to your mind?  In today’s world, this means a capitalist, a gun nut, a religious fundamentalist, a fan of the death penalty, an opponent of abortion under any circumstances, a homophobe, a ‘chicken hawk’ soldier favoring jingoistic diplomacy and unlimited defense spending, an advocate of welfare for the rich while staunchly opposing welfare for the poor, and a so-called ‘strict constitutionalist’ who would eviscerate the judicial branch and dominate both the legislative and executive branches of our representative democracy in order to trample triumphantly over the bothersome minorities:  blacks, hispanics, atheists, and the despised liberals.

What does the word “liberal” bring to your mind?  In today’s world, this means a radical left-leaner.  A person who would prefer socialism, strict gun control, an atheist, a fan of welfare for loafers and a crusader for destruction of corporations, an opponent of the death penalty, a fan of abortion for the asking, a homophile, someone who hates our troops, a big supporter of ‘liberal’ judges who turn criminals loose, a hater of democracy and the white race.

How far these labels have strayed from their original meanings!

The reason we’re forced to talk about politics on this show is that Americans are increasingly polarized by political rhetoric.  Many of us demonize all who oppose our view and get our opinions from others, rather than thinking things through logically and carefully for ourselves.  Religion has become part of the political package in America despite the ‘separation’ clause in the Constitution.  Someone has to call attention to the implications of the divisive politics that characterize the start of the 21st century.  So carry on, RJ and the rest of the AH panoply of stars!  Fight the good fight!  If I didn’t believe in what was going on here, I wouldn’t be a part of it.