Religious Encroachment (5 yard penalty, still 2nd down)

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This article (http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/undergod/2008/12/godbless_ame...) is fairly interesting, but not as interesting as the comments section. Where are these people going/living/existing that they find religion being crammed down their throats? Even if there's a dude in their town who's standing in the town square shouting, "You're all going to hell unless you listen to me" I don't see why that bothers them so much. Sure, it'd be annoying ... but so what?

I’m not a mind reader, so maybe I’m way off base about what these people are complaining about, but I think I’ll take a shot.

Well …

I’m drawing a blank. I live in a middle class neighborhood and other than the fact that there are two houses in my neighborhood that have 18X24 in signs that say “Celebrate Jesus” on them, I can’t think of any instances of overt religion in the neighborhood. Oh, wait, there’s that one dude that flies a Notre Dame flag on Saturdays that they’re playing football. How dare him try to cram the papacy down my throat that way! And he’s got all that never to be friendly, too. Where does he come off acting like that?!?!

The town where I live is decorated for some sort of holiday. The closest thing to a religious symbol are the candy canes hanging from the light poles—and they’re only religious if you buy the argument that they are fashioned after shepherd’s crooks but that’s kind of a stretch even if it’s true.
Maybe these people are objecting to all the religious broadcasting on the airways these days. On my radio, I can get about 20 AM stations and probably that many FMs. Altogether, I think I’ve found three stations that I know for sure are Christian. (Some of the Spanish stations might be Christian, but I can’t tell.) On my TV I get 6-11 stations (depending on the wind), of which none are explicitly religious but I have stumbled across “The 700 Club” and a couple other programs that appear to be religious. I guess that could offend someone if their TV didn’t come with a means of changing the channel.

I keep reading complaints about how the last eight years of our presidency have shoved religion down our throats. I have to confess I missed that, too. I remember George talking about his faith, but I just can’t remember him trying to pass any laws saying anyone else had to have the same faith. He did make that ruling about the stem cells based on his conscience, but considering all the medical advances made before and after that ruling dealt with ADULT stem cells it seems like he was more prescient that pushy.

And these complaints about politicians of all stripes ending their speeches with, “God bless America” … why is that so troubling? Most of what the politician said before that point was probably a lie—and we’re not complaining about that—so why complain about this lie? See, if you think there is no God, why would a politician lying by appealing to a myth bother you? If you believe there is a God but find the politician’s lifestyle to be hypocritical of a belief in God, object to that (but I don’t see anyone doing this—am I just missing it?).

Now, having said all this, I do think our country is becoming more and more secular but I can’t claim to have been religiously repressed in any way. I get together with a couple guys from my church every week and we have a little book club in which we go through and discuss Christian books. I’m pretty sure other people in the various restaurants where we have met have heard us and no one has objected. If we were making them listen or making them agree with us, I could understand their objections. We’re not, any more than they’re making us listen to whatever they’re talking about. In fact, here recently we’ve been reading a book called “They Smell Like Sheep” and several people have come over and asked what it was about. When we tell them, they seem interested rather than offended.

I also can’t think of a way my liberties have been trampled on in the last eight years. I can still worship wherever I want, drive the car I want (can afford, anyway), and while it might take a little more paperwork to fly somewhere than it used to, I can still get there. I can check out any book in my library (except the reference material that has to stay in the building) and I can buy any book I can afford through Amazon or at Hastings (if we had a full-size Hastings in Dumas, which we don’t, darnit!). Maybe my rights are being encroached on with a wiretap, but I have to feel really sorry for whoever’s tasked with listening in on those calls!

(Maybe I shouldn’t joke about it, but I can’t help but think the real reason someone’s worried about being wire-tapped is because they’re saying something [potentially] embarrassing. I don’t want to be the victim of “search and seizure”, either, but I also know that if I were they’d be really bored with what they searched and seized. “Just how much Snoopy stuff do you HAVE, sir?!?!”)

So I try to turn it around and put myself in the complainers’ shoes. I still don’t get it. I hear anti-God and anti-Christian stuff said on TV and radio all the time. Magazines and books can be just as bad. I don’t get worked up about it, though, because I can always turn off the TV or the radio, I can change the station, I can read a different magazine or I can take the book back to the library. I can even listen to the stuff (or read it) and ask myself how I would respond to the writer or speaker were I to meet them in person. But getting mad about it or trying to get them kicked off the airwaves never occurs to me. I have the right to keep them out of my house—just as I have the right to try and keep my toilet from backing up—but in doing so I don’t diminish them in any way.

Suffice to say: I just don’t get where the anger’s coming from … unless it’s that deep down they’re afraid the religious people might be onto something and they’re going to fight with all their might to downplay that possibility, as if by doing so they could in some way diminish an uncomfortable truth.