Meritocracy Breeds Social Tolerance
In an article entitled, "Why Silicone Valley is Backing Obama," by Johnathan Webber, I was pleased to read:
"Silicon Valley, and California in general, gets a lot of its energy from cultural diversity. If you're running a start-up, you hardly care what colour your VP of engineering is, or whom she might be sleeping with, or whether she's an evangelical Christian or pot head or a Wicca (sp). It only matters whether she can get the job done.
Meritocracy breeds social tolerance."
CULTURE WARS: COMING OUT OF THE BROOMCLOSET
With Margot Adler's chanting in the background, one young woman tells how she came out of the broom closet and reconciled with her mother, who now calls her, not a "devil worshipper" but a "little witch." NPR has taken us one step closer to Interfaith tolerance with this story.cl, ed.
by Sonia Ponce
NEW YORK, NY June 26, 2007 —Radio Rookie Sonia Ponce is the only atheist among her parent’s 13 children—a fact that often leaves her feeling misunderstood and tired of explaining that just because she doesn’t believe in God, she doesn’t worship the devil.
SONIA: When I meet people who don’t know me, I feel like I can’t be myself because they will fear me. They’ll think I’m a gothic freak, a devil worshipper, and that I do black magic. But, witchcraft is about rituals, spells, incantations, and meditation.
MARGOT: (singing) We are opening up in sweet surrender to the luminous.
SONIA: This is Margot Adler. She is the coolest neo-paganist, Wiccan priestess, that I’ve ever met.
MARGOT: (singing) We are opening, we are opening.
SONIA: She’s also a senior reporter for NPR.
MARGOT: One problem as someone involved in Wicca or paganism is that there are a number of people who think you are involved in Satanism. You got a real problem when you meet people and you got to do the whole anti-satanic rap.
SONIA: The difference between Margot and me is that I have to explain it to my own family, the people I live with. We are from Mexico, and we were all raised as Catholics—mom, dad and all 13 kids. I’m the only witchcraft-practicing atheist.
My sister Beatriz still remembers when I told my mom I didn’t believe in God.
BEATRIZ: She was shocked.
SONIA: My mom had never met an atheist before and she didn’t expect anything good out of it.
BEATRIZ: She was like oh my God! You believe in the devil! You cannot be an atheist, because I raised you as a Catholic. I baptized you, I gave you communion, your confirmation and you do this to me! How dare you!
GERARDO: Yes, I agree with my mother because if you don’t believe in God, then maybe you believe in the devil.
SONIA: That’s my older brother Gerardo.
GERARDO: It’s like if you live without God, it’s like if you’re not living at all.
SONIA: So I’m the weirdo’ in my family—all 14 of them are like geese together flying in a V. I’m the only one going my own way, and I’ve flown on a lot of different paths: vegetarian, agnostic, atheist, witch, wizard, anorexic, bisexual, lesbian, vegan, activist, honors student and head banger! But my parents refuse to hear about it. Maybe they would understand me better if we had the same education and culture.
My parents grew up on little farms with no running water and dirt floors. My dad started herding goats and cows when he was five years old. It was hard to survive and go to school. My mom went to school through first grade, and can only write her name.
MOM: Todos son Catolicos.
She says everyone around Catholic. My dad likes to tell me how Catholicism is perfect. He talks loudly, shaking his hand at every word.
DAD: (speaking Spanish loudly)
SONIA: Speaking to him about religion is like trying to break into a coconut with your finger. A while ago he asked me who made the world, if it wasn’t God? I told him that I believe in the big bang when the sun exploded and evolution.. In the 7th grade I had a great science teacher. I got interested in Darwin because I love monkeys.
DAD (translation): Before they used to teach kids about the catechism, but they prohibited it. Why did they teach you this?
SONIA: I told him that it’s science. And I said that I never believed in God.
DAD: Por nos da mucha pena.
SONIA: And he told me that hurts them a lot. It doesn’t upset me that my parents are Catholic and put pictures of saints all over the house. I just don’t want it forced on me–like when my mom pours holy water all over me. Or when my sister and I have to sit in the kitchen because our parents are praying in a bedroom we all share. I feel like a stranger.
We argue about everything, not just religious. My parents think a good Mexican, Catholic girl shouldn’t have a white boyfriend who doesn’t have a job. But I do. A while ago things got so bad that I went to stay with my boyfriend, Andrew.
ANDREW: (laughing) No she doesn’t want to give me a kiss.
SONIA: We slept at his brother’s apartment on the couch. At first it was fun. All we would do was watch TV. and order Chinese food or pizza and stay up ‘til 2 in the morning.
TV: This is your home, this is your party.
SONIA: But living without rules was chaotic. Within two weeks, I went from being an honors student to cutting school half the time. Pretty soon I was too sad to even think about having fun. I needed more clothes, so I asked my sister when I could go get them.
BEATRIZ: Just go early.
SONIA: Why do I have to go early?
BEATRIZ: Because you’re going to bunch into Fernando and father and they don’t want to see you at all.
SONIA: Why not?
BEATRIZ: They hate your guts basically.
SONIA: Why do they hate my guts?
BEATRIZ: For the fact that you left the house with a guy that it’s not worth leaving.
SONIA: So how about mom?
BEATRIZ: She’s just like she’s my daughter, so she’s like for me she’s dead and to her I’m dead. So, whatever.
ANDREW: If you feel like crying over anything.
SONIA: I don’t want a bad future for me. Cuz I really wanted to be my mom’s only daughter to graduate and get married the right way. But now I cannot even do that because my mom disowned me. She said I was dead for her.
ANDREW: It’s okay.
NARRATION: For six weeks, I didn’t hear from my parents. And it was kinda’ of weird but I even missed going to church. I didn’t miss the ashy incense smell or the old ladies singing. I missed sitting next to my mom and whispering and poking her face when she falls asleep.
SONIA: I finally did go back to my orange and blue house, my brother’s Mexican CDs, and my family. When I walked in, my heart was beating hard because I was so scared they would reject me. But they didn’t.
MOM: Yo hablaba a mi virgin…
SONIA: My mom told me she prayed every night for me – and that’s the reason I came home. But I didn’t go home because of God—I went home because I wanted to be a part of my family. My dad says I’m like the prodigal son. He’s a kid in the bible who left his house. And only when he was gone did he realize everything he had at home.
DAD: The father didn’t confront him. He hugged him, and kissed him and washed him and threw a party because his son had returned.
SONIA: But I didn’t get a party. Instead I had to dump my boyfriend, I had to get a job, and I had to drop my after-school activities. So I did. When I asked if I could go on a trip with a youth group—my family said yes, but only if I also went on a Catholic retreat.
GERARDO: The retreat is about meeting God. I know you don't believe in God. I'm 100% sure it's going to change your beliefs.
SONIA: I think it’s funny that my brother Gerardo thinks I’m going to change:
SONIA: While my mom was cleaning up she said everything has been going well.
MOM: O tu piensas que no?
SONIA: Si. (Laughing)
SONIA: But don’t get me wrong, I still believe there is no God, and that evolution made us who we are. But more and more, my parents and I are agreeing to disagree. My mom doesn’t call me a devil worshiper any more, instead she calls me Brujita, little witch. And I’m thinking about getting a tattoo of my mother’s name—Isidra-- with a cross and rosary beads in the background. Just to show everybody that I love her, and respect her religion and beliefs. For WNYC, I’m Rookie Reporter Sonia Ponce.
Used with permission
Commentary on the Media
Editorial by Lowell McFarland
|Green Views: Pagan
Commentary on the Media
|Israelites Didn't Build
YNet, Tel Aviv, Israel
Ynet invites you to send this article to a friend.
Head of Egyptian antiquity council files
[Egyptian] high school: 'Ancient Egyptians
Why do they teach otherwise?'
Published: 02.27.07, 09:32 / Israel Culture
"It is well known that the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids;
they regarded these structures as a national project for ancient
Egypt," said Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme
Council of Antiquities.
Hawass filed an official complaint to the Egyptian attorney general of
Egypt against a Cairo high school for teaching the students that it
was the Israelites who built the pyramids.
Hawass, prominent figure in Egyptian culture and around the Arab
world, criticized the school curriculum for "insisting that the Jews
pyramids and highlighting the fact that those who refused to partake
in the building were physically tortured."
The longstanding debate over who built the five pyramids of Giza, West
of Cairo, was rekindled at the first official visit of an Israeli
delegation to Egypt, in 1977.
"We built the pyramids," said the late [Israeli] Prime Minster Menahem
Begin at the National Museum in Cairo [Egypt]. He spurred fury
among Egyptian historians and archeologists. Subsequently, the
Egyptian press was full of protest articles.
The Egyptian Antiquities Authority, headed by Minister of Culture
Farouk Hosny, announced on Monday that they objected to a proposal by
a group of American Rabbis to establish an international committee to
see into renovating Jewish sites in Egypt, including synagogues and
Copyright © Yedioth Internet. All rights reserved.
dates pyramids were built:
approximate date of
considered the first Hebrew:
estimated era of Moses
Editorial by Lowell McFarland
Who REALLY Built the Pyramids?
By Lowell McFarland
Missing in this
argument is the incredible greatness of the Aboriginal/Pagan scientists,
architects, building trades, scholars, etc., in creating these eternal
It seems compulsory for modern governments and scholars to dismiss
Aboriginal/Pagan greatness and to restrict modern representatives of
Aboriginal/Pagan groups institutional access to these monuments.
Often, modern governments and scholars treat the creators of eternal
monuments as virtually anonymous, lost cultures, unfathomable or no
different from the culture and religion of the current majority.
In particular, the apparent efforts by Greek authorities to limit
Hellenic involvement with Hellenic temples and monuments during the last
Olympics and the apparent Irish attitude to building a roadway on top of
Celtic Tara, seems to be global.
Aboriginals/Pagans should better, nationally and internationally,
organize and caucus leaders, scholars and historians to formally visit
ancient Aboriginal/Pagan sites for better involvement and to be part of
all decision making.
Forever the Celtic story!"
Lowell McFarland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
|Consistently High Media
Support for the Right of
Pagan Vets to Have the Pentagram Engraved on Their Tombstones!
Joe Soucheray, Pioneer Press, Dec. 24, 2006:
"If a Wiccan is going to take a bullet in the defense of the United
States, then the Wiccan should get whatever the Wiccan wants on his
As I hinted, I can solve
this problem for Wiccans, or at least maybe steer them in the right
direction. Wiccans suffer from extremely poor marketing. Yes, they have
a marketing problem. When you think Wiccan, you think pointed hat.
Especially at this time of year, when you see the marketing machinery of
other religions spring into action at the slightest affront, the Wiccans
seem woefully out of the game.
entire column, which was possibly read by more Pagans in the Twin
Cities than any other in 2006! http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/16302449.htm
I'm delighted to say that Joe's challenge has resulted in the
creation of the
Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, which
62 days later brought 150-175 Wiccans and other Pagans to a
Veteran's Pentacle Rights Ritual and rally at the state capital. For
stories on that go to veterans_headstone page
Roses for the Lady
Liberty League, which has worked for years doing PR on this issue,
Compare to the older stories at our Veterans Headstone Archive.
For more on this issue and what YOU can do about it before the Spring
see Veterans Headstone
Commentary on the Media, by Heather
|Roses for the East Bay Express!
Catholic Daily took this really nice and respectful article about
a blended Christian/Wiccan family and twisted to fit their idea that
Wicca and Paganism are basically Satanism with a thin veneer of
respectability. This is why I left the Catholic church to begin with
... (in my experience) they NEVER give their parishioners the straight
story and all information disseminated to the congregation seems to be
slanted to fit their agenda. True Christianity (the way Christ taught
it) is actually a beautiful religion. I just wish that the so-called
followers could have kept it that way.
Commentary on the Media, by Lowell McFarland
On Angry E-Mails!
"From Austin Cline,
Your Guide to Agnosticism / Atheism.
Atheists React to Anti-Atheist Bigotry on
Paula Zahn Now
Cruising around the internet, I have found
quite a few reactions to the recent Paula Zahn
Now episode in which three religious theists,
but no actual atheists, were invited to comment on why atheists are so
hated and discriminated against.
Some of the [e-mails from] atheists reacting to this have interesting
comments to make about both the show itself and anti-atheist bigotry
I thought it would be worth adding some links and quotes to my own
February 1 post, but there are so many I realized I should create an
entirely new post for them."
What do YOU think, dear reader?
Pagans also be proactive to resist defamation?
Why or why not? Send your reply to the Editor!
Send examples of of Pagan
activism and we'll publish them here!
Why Didn't We think of That?
After CNN broadcast their Paula
Zahn show about Atheists without using Atheist guests, Atheists flooded
the network with angry e-mails and CNN was apparently forced to
liberally include American Atheists president Ellen Johnson on a Paula
Zahn Now episode on Sunday, February 11, 2007.
Well organized religious groups immediately flood networks and public
figures with angry e-mails when they believe that their religion has
been insulted. Recent examples are presidential candidate Edwards who
apparently fired well known bloggers after Catholics objected,
presidential candidate Romney was flooded with angry e-mails by Jews
over his presidential announcement at the Ford Museum (Ford is accused
of being a strong anti-Semite), and the angry Muslim e-mails concerning
opposition to Congressman Keith Ellison using the Koran.
We, at Tuan Today, track public communications of most religious groups
and we have noted how both Muslims and Atheists, clearly at the bottom
of the pile a decade ago, have seemed to change by adopting both
rational and sophisticated methods (historically used by all other
religious groups in America) to nationally organize, create congresses,
adopt spokespeople and enlist seasoned communicators, do national
fundraising, use bloggers, answer public insults, etc.
Both Muslims and Atheists believe that their radical change and full
court press has made a difference and has even made political candidates
seek them out for conversations, in similar ways to other religions.
The most important elements seem to be that both Muslims and Atheists
both stress the number of registered American voters they represent and
follow-up with their instant ability to generate thousands of angry
Sadly, Pagans stubbornly remain just about the last major religious
group to wake up to the utility of benefiting their millions-plus
members by nationally organizing, congressing, having outstanding
spokespeople and enlisting communicators, doing national fundraising,
instantly and overwhelmingly responding to insults, etc.
Forever the Celtic story!"
Lowell McFarland <email@example.com>
|You'll find many additional stories on
the Headstone campaign at
Headstone and at veteran_headstone_archive
spirituality they missed in church:
Organized religion can
be roadblock to faith,
By Richard O. Jones
COX NEWS SERVICE
HAMILTON, Ohio - When
people become disenchanted with their parents' religions, they sometimes
turn to the religions of their ancestors.
Annoyed by what they perceive as wrong-headed self-righteousness and
people not living up to the tenets of their beliefs, gossiping and
back-stabbing, some find comfort in older, earth-based religious
... Moore said
mainstream churches and Pagans tap into the same flow of universal energy.
"When you go to a church and the energy is high, things begin to happen,"
she said. People may be healed or enlightened. Lives may be changed.
"That's magic, but they may not want to call it that."
...Some Pagans believe in an after-life, sometimes referring to it as
Summerland, but Moore has a different view: "I believe that when I die, I
will become a part of whatever's growing above me."
Read the full story: www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/
Related links Below
Lou Ann Joyal participates in the Children of Temple Earth Summer
Solstice celebration on June
18 in Verdi.
Backyard barbecues, the
end of the school year and a lush garden of flowers and tomatoes are the
typical signs of summer.
This period has more
meaning for those who follow the pagan religion. For them, it’s a time to
rejoice and worship the life-giving energy forces they call Lord and Lady,
or god and goddess.
“This is when the Lord and
Lady are at their height of joining,” said Al McKeel at a recent summer
solstice ritual. “They are at their highest peak together.”
Paganism is a
nature-based, polytheistic religion with many belief systems. In Northern
Nevada, most of the estimated 500 participants practice variations of
wicca or druidism, said Kim Pennington-Dozier, who was high priestess last
Saturday at the Children of Temple Earth summer solstice ritual at Crystal
spiritual name is Feathered Wolf, said as a Cherokee, Potawatomi and
Apache, she follows the American Indian shamanism path and is a witch.
About 25 people
participated in the celebration, many in long robes tied with knotted
belts that revealed their status and years of study.
McKeel, who prefers to go
by his spiritual name, Shadow of the Nine Graves, has many knots on his
belt and is considered an elder and guardian of the group.
“I’m beyond levels now,”
said the 50-year-old Reno resident.
He explained what was
taking place as Pennington-Dozier, a high priestess, and Tony Howard, a
high priest and druid, led the ritual.
First, the participants
blessed a circle-shaped space amid the tall trees.
“That is so nothing
benevolent and or evil can enter,” Shadow said. “And when he casts the
circle, he creates space that is not of time, it is not of place.”
“cleansed” with a spray of spring water and smoke from a sage stick before
they can become a part of the circle. A person has been designated to
stand at the four elements — north, south, east and west.
The person standing at
each element commands the power of that element to arrive.
“And they will be actually
charged with that element and will hold that quarter of the circle,”
A man in a long blue robe
barely showing his face under a hood and holding a sword slowly walked
clockwise and acted as guard of the circle.
everyone,” he said. “There are certain passwords that you use before you
can enter a circle.”
The high priest and the
high priestess then invite the god and goddess. They are never evoked.
“And the god and goddess
will enter into them and they will be their representation today here on
earth in the circle,” Shadow said.
Eight times a year pagans
gather to celebrate a shift in the earth’s energy.
There are several
misconceptions about paganism, Pennington-Dozier said. Although some
practice witchcraft, pagans do not worship Satan.
“We don’t even believe
there is a Satan,” she said. “That came with Christianity.”
They also respect all
living things, which include animals. The rule to live by is: “Do what you
will and harm none.” That also means a person cannot harm themselves with
drugs or alcohol, Howard said.
“We don’t need a lot of
laws,” he said. “All you have to do is follow that one. It covers
Lou Ann Joyal, 54, was
part of three generations in the circle. Her daughter, Jennifer McConnell,
and 11-year-old granddaughter, Betty Jo Flynn, also were part of the
celebration. Although Joyal’s father did not say he was pagan, she said
she was brought up respecting nature.
“He always taught me that
the best church to pray in is outside,” she said.
She said she allowed her
daughter to search for a faith that was comfortable for her and she also
chose paganism. Now Betty Jo is “testing the water,” she said.
“Really it’s kind of like
worshiping the same thing,” said Betty Jo, comparing it to the
Christianity she practices with her father’s side of the family in
Orville, Calif. “To me, I don’t think it matters.”
Amanda McNatt, who
graduated last month from the University of Nevada, Reno, said as a little
girl she would ask her parents about Mrs. God. For pagans, the god and
goddess are equal. She said she is not part of one of the nine or 10
covens in the area but is considered a solitary, someone who studies
“A coven can give you
structure,” the 25-year-old from Carson City said. “You have higher elders
that can teach you the way. Solitary you are more free to be eclectic like
I am and mix all the various branches of wicca that there are.”
The days now will begin to
grow shorter and the Lord of the summer, called the Oak King, will die a
symbolic death at the next shift of the earth’s energy — the autumn
Accessed June 25. For the online version, click HERE.
Used with permission.
Roses for this response to the monotheistic
hegemony now being foisted on us all.
"Calling all Pagans: It's time to fight back!"
"The triumph of absolutist faith over
relativism, of religion over secularism, will start up a new era of
religious strife, if it hasn't already begun.
The history of religious contention in the West does contain instances
of peace, moments when religions signed truces and stopped the
warfare, but social peace didn't prevail until religion was booted out
of the marketplace, driven out of the halls of power and sealed up in
private homes and places of worship.
Religion in private may be a good thing; religion in public is a
Hoffman: 'Calling all Pagans: It's time to fight back!'
Date: Wednesday, May 04 @ 09:39:04 EDT
Topic: Church and State
The New York Observer invites you to e-mail this article.
By Nicholas von Hoffman, New York Observer
A piece of treacherous language has made its way into our public
discourse. Where once words such as "religion," "Christianity" and
"Judaism" were heard, public figures now speak of "persons of faith" or
"people of faith," "the faith community" and "faith-based." Moreover,
anything "faith-based" is
axiomatically good, and anyone who questions the
presumption is axiomatically bad.
These expressions divide us into believers and nonbelievers, with the
believers or persons of faith
enjoying not only an alleged numerical
majority but a moral superiority as well. It follows that anyone
outside the community of faith is a bottom-dwelling, life-hating, secular
pederast destined for
pain eternal in the land of Tophat.
Saints and sinners are being lined up and divided everywhere. Have you
seen Robert Novak on TV telling
all who will listen the whys of his
becoming a Roman Catholic? Woe to him who cannot claim membership
The term "people of faith" has come to be used interchangeably with the
word "American." If there's a
politician left in the United States who
doesn't season his speech with tremulous references to the
faith," I can't recall his name. The Democrats--who are supposed to have a
killing the unborn and sexually assaulting the underage--have
given up their advocacy of vice and
perversion; they, too, now speak in
deferential tones of the "people of faith," whose votes they seek to
corral by pious faces and reverential references to "the God of us all."
The expression "people of faith" conveys the idea of
a holy (or not-so-holy) alliance of religions, united
for good against the
disorganized forces of anarchic relativists, secularists, and people of
little or no
faith. They have values--a good thing.
The rest of us (few in number though we may be) stand for what is
destructive of hearth, community and country--a bad thing.
The people of faith are sympathetic to the Republican Party and its
objectives. Democrats, intimidated
by the religiosity loose in the
country, have come to accept the premise that the test of public policy is
how a measure is greeted by the faith community. At the rate the faith
juggernaut is moving to govern
the nation, the once-red-hot liberal patootie, Hillary Rodham Clinton, now a wifely Mrs. Hillary Clinton,
soon be campaigning against Roe v. Wade. Judging by who Ms. Clinton
was in the days of yore as
against who Lady Clinton is nowadays, you would
have to agree that faith can pass miracles.
Hillary is not alone. Can you think of a single person of stature in
public life who dares to challenge the
people of faith? Maybe a shock jock
here or there has the onions to take on this coalition of the
too godly. Nobody else does.
The closest thing we have to organized opposition to the religious
domination of public life is Americans
United for the Separation of Church
and State--but though their geeky hearts are in the right place, I
wouldn't want to speculate on the location of their heads. Battling the
appointment of faith-based judges and preventing public buildings from
being festooned with Bible quotations is well and good as far as it goes,
but it isn't far enough.
Somebody or something has got to start battling religion itself. God is
the enemy -- meaning the God
locked up by organized religions and guarded
by ministers, priests, rabbis, popes and mullahs.
This is not a struggle to be carried on in the law courts and the
legislatures. Religionists are crawling in
everywhere, swarming the schools, movies, medicine and research labs.
Their intent is to install a faith commissar to oversee every major social
institution. We don't need lawyers here; we need fumigators.
need people in HAZMAT suits to go in and smoke 'em out.
We need people to stand up in public against the Christo-Islamic
alliance's assaults on relativism. It's
been more than a generation since
anyone with access to a significant pulpit stood up for relativism. The
clerics have made "relativism' into a dirty word instead of what it
actually is: a term for the application
of reason to public affairs.
Turn your back on relativism and you get absolutism.
Show me a true believer and I'll show you a bigot. Absolutism is at the heart of every religion -- our
dogma or nothing. The absolutist foundations of every
compromise, adjustments, deal-making, pragmatism, the changing of opinion,
admission of new evidence--all the tools necessary for running a
complicated, polyglot, poly-religious,
poly-ethnic, poly-cultural modern,
science-based, technology-dependent society. The absolutism that underlies
religious faith closes the door marked "Reason" and opens the door labeled
There was a time when the evangelical Calvinist form of the Christian
religion was so prevalent that it
could run American society with some
success -- but that was 200 years ago. Even then, people of
tried to beat off the religious prohibitionism that strove to close the
country down on Sundays,
to suppress music, dancing, baseball, Sabbath
smooching and the joy of life and replace it with on-your-knees worship
and clerical rule. The coming of large numbers of Roman Catholic
immigrants touched off
the public-school wars of the 19th century.
Religious absolutism being what it is, the fight over whose
morals were to be inculcated into the students had to be resolved by
kicking all religion out
of the schools. That never completely happened,
but at least God was pushed into the corner with the elimination of school
prayer and the exile of religious symbols and activities. Recently,
though, God has
been making a comeback -- and God help us all if He is
The alliance among the various religions embraced by the people of faith
is a tenuous one; in the end,
every religion hates every other religion.
The day before Benedict XVI was elected, The Wall Street
Journal ran a
front-page article about how Islam was converting people faster than the
-- which, rousing itself from a certain evangelical
torpor, was starting to say, "No more Mr. Nice Guy!
We can't let the towelheads get ahead of us." (The language used, of course, was more
the meaning was there.)
The triumph of absolutist faith over relativism, of religion over
secularism, will start up a new era of
religious strife, if it hasn't
already begun. The history of religious contention in the West does
instances of peace, moments when religions signed truces and
stopped the warfare, but social peace
didn't prevail until religion was
booted out of the marketplace, driven out of the halls of power and
up in private homes and places of worship. Religion in private may be a
good thing; religion in
public is a menace.
In the U.S., with a growing Muslim population, a super-energetic Jewish
population and an increasingly
crazed Christian population, it is but a
matter of time before the "people of faith" coalition falls apart
get down to some good old-fashioned religious throat-slitting. Religions
are tolerant only when
they lack the power to be otherwise; turning the
country over to one of them or all of them combined is
the people of faith have a war-crimes record longer than your arm.
A good guess would be that only a minority of the population is infected
with virulent forms of faith. But
it's an organized minority, awash in
money. We of little faith and less zeal are neither organized nor rich
eaten up with a need to proselytize, and therefore we are without defenses
against God's putschists.
To stop them, we don't have to pass laws. It's not
vital to get "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance.
What is vital is
that we, the faithless, raise a hullabaloo every time the people of faith
play the family-values card, every time they claim that their faith puts
them at the head of the line, every time they
presume to decide what we
should see, hear and do. What is vital is that we bray, honk, whinny, oink
and screech at every public assertion that superstition trumps science,
that they've got a god and that
those of us without one are no damn good.
Shout out the facts: They put "in God we trust" on
the money, and every year it's worth less than it was
the year before.
You may reach Nicholas von Hoffman via email at:
COPYRIGHT (c) 2005 THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
Reprinted from The New York Observer: