My Challenge to Religion
Judging from my mail, there are many readers who misunderstand what motivates me to sponsor this website. To the accusation that I hate Jesus and God, I say that I can't have feelings for something that doesn't exist. To the accusation that I hate Jews and Christians, my answer is that I never hold a person's faith, color or nationality against him. I judge people by their personality.
What raises my fur is religion's politics. The symbiosis between government and religion goes back to the ancient Egyptians when pharaohs where thought to be agents of god. When the Roman Empire adopted Catholicism as the official religion, it extinguished paganism and heresy. When the puritans left England because of religious oppression, they came to America and established their own form of oppression. The United States has a long history to this day of religiously inspired laws and regulations.
So yes, I am at war with religion. It is not because I care what people believe in their personal life. It is because religion has been in an ongoing war against my way of life. I'm fed up with people who think they are on mission from God to change the political system more to their liking. Religion affects the way people vote and what they expect from government.
Liberty is a two way street. If a religionist wants to practice his faith without government interference, then he should make up his mind not to use government to leverage his missionary zeal. Until I become convinced that religionists have stopped using government as a propaganda weapon, I'm in this war for the long haul.
I subscribe to a libertarian magazine called "Liberty." For those who don't know what libertarianism is, it's a philosophy of a minimal government which has roots going back to the Constitution. In a recent addition, a religionist who calls himself a libertarian used Liberty as forum to complain about what the author perceives as a war against religion. The article speaks for itself.
In recent years, I've come to the conclusion that libertarianism has turned into a lost cause. The libertarianism that I used to know was defined by Ayn Rand. She recognized that organized religion and government were allies with the same objective: to control the masses through thought control and force.
The common form of libertarianism that I see now is exemplified by the Andrew W. Jones article, "The War on Religion." Theists have taken over the movement and corrupted it into a religious cause to rescue their alliance. They were happy when the state was doing their missionary work for them. Now they are upset because they are losing their free ride.
Mr. Jones makes that point when he complains about competitors being subsidized and they are not. He thinks that the Salvation Army has a right to use taxpayer money to promote its religion. And he is dismayed that ACLU-like organizations are cutting them off from interaction with society at large.
There are good reasons why true libertarians oppose government welfare. For one, it's stolen money. Second, it forces all taxpayers to pay for things they disagree with. Third, it gives the state more control over you. Instead, this phony whines about being cut off from subsidies because his competitors are getting them.
Next, he argues that the First Amendment was intended to prevent government interference with the freedom to worship. That's half the story! The Founders knew how organized religions incite the state to oppress heretics and unbelievers. This has been going on since Roman Empire days.
Mr. Jones withholds the circumstances under which the California Supreme Court ruled against Catholic Charities on contraceptive drugs, so I looked at the legal brief on the web. It was Catholic Charities who challenged the Women's Contraception Equity Act on First Amendment grounds. The law allows religious employers to request exceptions that violate their tenets, but the court found that they do not fit the definition of a religious employer. (I add that Catholic Charities would have violated the First Amendment rights of its employees.)
The plaintiff acknowledged that it doesn't fit the definition: it employs and serves persons of different faiths, and its corporate purpose is not directly related to inculcation; it is to serve the general public. The law does not compel any employer to offer prescription drug insurance, but Catholic Charities didn't like that option. This also explains why the Salvation Army was disallowed from using federal money to promote religion.
The First Amendment works both ways, but Mr. Jones sees it only one way. When religions and their affiliates get cut off from government largess, he screams superlatives like suppression, punishment and intrusion.
He is concerned because millions of Christians are forced to pay for abortions which they believe to be murder. What he doesn't say is that millions of Christians also disagree with Rome. Nobody should be forced to pay for abortions for reasons that have nothing to do with one's definition of murder, but he's too narrow-minded to notice.
As the Catholic Charities case shows, the laws make a clear distinction between what is a religious organization and what is not. Mr. Jones smears the difference when he raises the alarm that priests may someday be forced to marry gays and the Catholic Church accept women priests.
This is one time I agree with the ACLU. An absolute barrier between state and religion is not an attack on religion. It's a libertarian defense of the First Amendment. To him, it's social engineering.
I'll defend their right to their nutty superstitions, but I'm fed up with having anal-retentive values forced on me. It's not just the lobbying and the court challenges. Theists grow up into adults who find their way into every level of government. Don't think for a minute that they can separate their religious values from policy. They proudly call this a Judeo-Christian nation because there are so damn many Judeo-Christian laws and regulations.
What theists have proved over and over again is that theirs are not voluntary spiritual movements; they are political causes. For all practical purposes, libertarianism is dead. It's dead because God killed it-Romans 13:1-7.
every person be subject to the governing
authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that
exist have been instituted by God.
2Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.
5Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Rom. 13:1-7)