Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Hidden Hook

I have a friend who is a conservative. He is not a Bible-thumping, fire-breathing, loaded-on-religion conservative. He is a real conservative. He understands money, its applications and uses in society and for government. We differ on how to use money, and government, to serve the people. After all, money and government are bloody tools, nothing else. They are not entities in their own right.

I don’t give a damn about money; have never had enough of it to acquire a taste for it. I am a far Left Liberal, leaning Socialist, a member of the revolutionary-counterculture '60s generation. I freely admit that we Liberals made a mistake in the heady days of love and flower power. We wanted to feed the world you see, so we gave people fish instead of the fishing pole. Two generations later we realized that many of them couldn’t feed themselves. This is perhaps not a mistake that my conservative friend would have made – such are the wages of youth and idealism.

Still and all mistakes aside, I am deeply committed to Liberal principles. As I view them they are these: social and economic justice for all; helping the very old, the very young and the very poor; honoring and facilitating the success of the Working Class; upholding the principles of FDR, JFK and LBJ – the social safety net, Civil Rights, Voting Rights and the knowledge that there is no Exceptionalism in an America where only a few can afford to play.

My friend and I often go to the canvas over issues. As I said to him, we are like Reagan and Tip O’Neill, going to our corners, coming out swing hard and looking for a brawl. Once in the middle we find that we often share enough to form some common cause. This is the way government should work. This is the way it used to work.

There is no place in politics or government for rigid ideologies. They torture discourse and freeze reason. There is no place in politics or government for religion. They are incompatible, contraindicated and irreconcilable. Politics and government are secular and quantifiable. Religion is neither – no one can prove the existence of God, because no one can prove the non-existence of God. Thus attempting to build a political system or government on any god is like attempting to sit on the wind.

This is why our Founding Fathers said, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . .” They were not protecting churches, as some on the Right say. They were protecting people from the oppression and persecution of religious tyranny.

There is a tidal wave building in this country. In state houses and at the federal level, there is an enormous swell of religious bigotry - power grabbing, control seeking intolerance. It will roll over people like my wonderful atheist friends, who are decent and moral human beings without the agency of a higher power. It will roll over my beloved spiritual brothers and sisters, who follow a different path. As do I. It will roll over my cherished friends in the LGBT community, whose finest expression of their humanity has been a justification for this filthy agenda for years. It will roll over someone we all know and love.

Laws are being made today that will force us to live by the tenets of a religion we have no interest in following. Thus because those tenets will carry the force of law a state religion is being established. There is only one point to religious tyranny, and that is tyranny - nothing to do with God. Most of my readers know that I am insane for the X-files. So, in the words of my much admired Chris Carter, “Fight the Future!”

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