We could end bigotry and oppression over night

If people cared and put more thought into the quality of their lives and quality of their person – and lived as they claim they believe – in freedom, love, the right to make choices; we could end bigotry and oppression over night.

but that can’t happen until people can understand that you have a right to your beliefs – and so do other people.

And no one’s beliefs belong in law or government policy  – the separation of church and state is partly about separating the spheres of influence.

It is the role of government to provide for all people as a matter of citizenship and be blind to whatever characteristics a person has that would put them in one subculture or another.

The public square has to operate on that same principle, or there is no equality or freedom in any meaningful sense.

The government’s job is to ensure that the lives that we lead right now are protected and that we are all able to participate in society within the limits of the actual laws (not what we’d like or think that the laws are – because religion’s rules are not secular law – and freedom is measured by the distance between the two kinds) and to our individual interest levels and capacity.

There should be no ongoing social battles by various groups over the decades to add laws to be inclusive, when they were originally set out as everyone who’s a citizen, without exception, was deemed equal.

Women should have been able to vote, own property and not be property, same for black people – and now marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Christianity has the potential for being a force of love in society, but it’s not – it’s small and mean and vicious, limiting itself to be inclusive only of people who conform and is hateful to anyone who doesn’t.

People need to be reminded that what sexual things that other people do, are none of their business if they weren’t invited to participate in some way.

We don’t have to know each others business, but we do have to treat each other as equals – and as long as religious believers feel entitled to deny other people rights that they get to enjoy – Christians aren’t working and playing well with others.

Christians are not the morality police – as Elvis sang:

 

Religious harms

With all the news about closed polygamous communities and the debates over marriage being religious or secular and who gets to be married and how many spouses can they have, the issue seems to come down to a simple question of which society prevails?

A secular democratic society, where the individuals are the social unit of consequence, and thus are entrusted to make whatever life decisions will allow them to have the freedom to take liberties with whatever makes their life happy while not imposing restrictions or limitations of any one else’s enjoyment of the same secular society.

Or do we allow whatever is the dominant religion to decide for all of us, regardless of individual beliefs?

When we want to know what the danger and social harms that have been wrought by religion and allowing religious leaders to assume the role of King over all who serve, we need only to look back to the 1970s and Jonestown.

Worse, that we haven’t changed since then.

There’s warfare in the middle east, religious extremism on the rise, economic strife, global unrest and constant claims by one religious group or another of the coming ending of the world.

We need to ensure public education not only provides the basic education of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but also to ensure that ever citizen understand their citizenship rights, responsibilities and entitlements – partly to ensure that children have access to legal protective services if need be, but also so that they become socially capable functional people.

At a minimum, able to understand the basic scientific method, critical thinking, and capable to navigate what’s private sovereignty vs public interest.

A tall order, which will not be possible when religious sensibilities are coddled to the point that having a religion is deemed the norm.

Magical thinking is not the basis for understanding or being in the universe. Worse, fighting over magical thinking, oppressing, discriminating and slaughtering people over the details or variations of magical thinking should be thought of as obscene.

Anything that is actually moral, cannot claim a moral as more important than living and breathing people.