Sunday, April 08, 2007

It’s Easter, but can we talk about separation of Church and State?

Yes, I know it’s Easter (which is in my opinion the most important religious event of the Christian liturgical year), but I also believe it is a good time for those of us who consider ourselves Christians, albeit not even remotely in the Dobson, Robertson, Falwell mold, to contemplate how Christianity has been used, abused, contorted, and redefined for political purposes these past 6 ½ years. And it’s time for those of us who’ve stood by in stunned, helpless silence watching this frightening trend unfold to wake up and realize that we aren’t as helpless as we think and we can do something about this.

As we reflect on what Easter means or doesn’t mean to us, let us also reflect on the beauty and magnificence of a country in which we have the freedom to be a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or an atheist, or a Mormon, or a Wiccan, or an agnostic. Let us reflect on a country in which we can believe in God, or Allah, or the Spaghetti Monster. And most of all let us also rejoice in a country in which we don’t have to believe in anything at all if we so choose and not be persecuted, punished, or branded a lesser human being for making that choice. And finally, let us reflect on the very real damage that is done to both religion and politics when the line between Church and State becomes blurred by political opportunists and power mongers.

A few years ago, I would not have given this whole thing much thought, and I might have even snickered at the notion of this country sliding towards theocracy, but then a few years ago I didn’t know one of my beloved children was gay. It took having people like James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell telling me that one of my children was evil and undeserving of the same rights as everyone else in this country because “their brand of Christianity” did not condone who he might choose to love. It took watching in horror as the President of the United States used my son’s rights as a bargaining chip to gain political clout. It took watching Christianity being tarnished and twisted to fit the very narrow view of a certain sector of our population and then force fed to the rest of us. It took one political party claiming moral superiority and the patent on Christian and Family Values while trampling my family and my Christian values. It took watching my tax dollars going to Churches that preach hate for my son, exclusion of my son, and bigotry towards my son. It took seeing my country’s government contemplating using the Constitution of the United States to guarantee that one of my children would never be equal to his brother and sister.

It took all of that and more to finally wake me up and smell a potential theocracy, but believe me, I’m awake now, and I’m not snickering anymore. I’m quaking in my shoes. So I am taking a little bit of time out to participate in the “Blog Against Theocracy blogswam” in the hopes that others who are not paying attention either might wake up before it is too late.

And finally, don’t get me wrong, James Dobson has every right to define what Christianity means to him, he just doesn’t have the right to define it for me or anyone else and he certainly doesn’t have the right to define it for a country founded on religious diversity and freedom. This is not a Christian Nation, it is a secular one, and when we allow people like Dobson to define it as such, we all lose. We must protect the basic tenets upon which this amazing country was founded. And that means maintaining a clear and non-negotiable separation of Church and State.

So consider this post my small contribution to the blogswarm.



Jarred said...

Well said! I agree with everything you said.

Having said that, as a non-Christian, I have to admit I was extremely uncomfortable with the fact that Easter weekend was chosen for this blogging event. While I'd like to think that most of my readers (at least the regular ones) would know me better than that, I could not in good conscience participate in this because doing so would feel too much like taking a swipe at Christianity (or even just a certain brand of Christianity) on their holiest of holy days. And doing that (even if it wasn't my intent) goes against everything I believe in.

But it's nice that an "insider" such as yourself were willing to participate in the event. After all, it's your holy day, too. And to me, that makes all the difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I have not read all your information; however, I have a live-in nephew who is gay. This has never bothered me as I am a science fiction reader/watcher and know anything/everything is possible.

As for the Christian religion, I know for dang sure. Jesus said "love one another" and he didn't add any qualifications to that. Follow that rule and you will be fine.