A chain email with the following quote - and several images of Jesus, some of which looked uncannily like pictures of me in 1970 - arrived in my inbox the other day:
"He is the only one that can save this country and they want him removed from the government. Our great nation will not stand if we delete HIM from all aspects of our government as the atheists want"
First, I'd like to say that anyone sending me an email expecting his or my life to improve as a result loses an immediate 5 points on my credibility scale (it only goes to 10). It's up there with the idea that God runs an online dating service (Christian Mingle: Find God's match for you). The good thing about imaginary superheroes is that they can be imbued with whatever superpowers you choose. Not to mention the fact that most of these emails are "fishing" programs, designed to steal your email address book.
Second, I'm coming out of the closet right here before your eyes, admitting that by any rational and objective definition I am one of those atheists referred to in the quote above. I want God removed from all aspects of our government. I want all Republicans removed, as well, but that's another story. I don't want anymore crazies sitting on the Science and Technology Committee admitting that they think the Big Bang Theory comes straight from the pits of Hell. Or that women's bodies will self-abort in cases of "legitimate rape".
Clearly our founders were conflicted about God's role in government. While providing some "separation of Church and State" lingo, they also alluded to God's role in the creation of our country. It even says so right on the dollar bill, an interesting place to talk about trust and faith.
Roman emperors professed their power was divine, especially after Constantine codified a bible to back him up. European kings represented God on Earth, but at the time the Pope's main function was to raise armies and wage war. An English king rebuked the Church's marital doctrines and formed his own church, but still reigned with the grace of God. Americans threw off the shackles of the British and voila, a new country ordained by the Almighty was born. God chose Joseph Smith to minister to his chosen nation and to have sex with pre-pubescent girls while he waited for his rocket ship to Kolob. So many can be controlled by so few, as long as it's what the good Lord wants.
One of the problems with people who think they're doing God's work is that everyone seems to have a different idea of what God is telling them to do. Everyone thinks that they have found Truth, albeit a completely different truth than everyone else. They think they have a special relationship with God, or Allah.
Or get messages from Kolob (the place where Mormons' god resides). For a couple hundred years before the Council of Nicea (about 350 A.D.) Christians were killing each other over their perception of Jesus. Was he a prophet or the son of God? The conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims stems from much the same thing.
Fervent believers seem easily able to suspend and scorn reality. They have a sense of moral superiority while demeaning mankind's progress in math, science, exploration and discovery. They drive to church in vehicles propelled by FOSSIL FUELS (spoiler alert: fossils are VERY old) and then proclaim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Perhaps God did tell Joseph not to concern himself with his wife's pregnancy (prior to the consumation of their relationship), but I saw the same situation on Desperate Housewives.
Everyone has the right to believe or not believe whatever they choose. And practice whatever they choose to practice. What they don't have the right to do, however is to impose those beliefs and/or practices on everyone else. If government doesn't protect the rights of everyone while protecting everyone from those who would impose their will on the rest of us, you wind up with theocracy. If I wanted that, I'd move to Afghanistan.
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