Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Religion in American Politics

OK, lets face the facts, the majority of Americans are religious. Granted, the extent of which is diverse, however, most identify themselves as being a member of a religion. The question remains how do you best utilize this information in politics? Or better yet, should we? I believe that we should use this information to bring people together on common ground and to make a better nation. However, I don't believe we should use religion to divide people. The other fact is that while the majority is religious, there is still a minority who is not. The great thing about this nation is that the minority is given a voice and the same should ring true when it comes to religion in politics.

Why do I bring all this up? Well its quite simple, if you have been alive and aware the last five years, its become increasingly clear that certain elements have formed a radical religious movement that seeks to paint America in their image. The biggest problem with that is that they are very divisive, are against inclusion, and of course radical. The truth of the matter is that there are serious side effects of this "your either with us or against us" philosophy and one of the major effects is that people becoming more religious for the good and the bad of the country. I believe this trend is across the board without regard to political party affiliation, but its the manipulation of these trends that are at times scary.

Today, I was listening to CNN and they were talking about "Jesus Camp" a new documentary about a camp where Evangelical Christian kids go, and to be blunt about it, get indoctrinated. They represent the tomorrow of what we see today. This movement is anti anything that doesn't believe how they believe, and whats worse, they wield political power.

Now I don't like to take party sides, as my views are both conservative and liberal, but I have to admit the GOP has a strangle-hold on this issue and its been a successful advantage they have held over the heads of the democratic party. I believe that its high time democrats get a backbone and profess their religious beliefs to counter the republicans to at the very least, provide some balance where there is none.

Personally, I don't think what the religious right does or believes is in accordance to the essence of what Jesus(saw) actually taught. They seem very zealous, however its a dangerous zeal that is void of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. No one seems to have the courage in politics to ask questions like what would Jesus do?

Would Jesus be for divisive and dismissive behavior toward those that don't believe the same? Would he be inclusive, compassionate, and understanding? How would he feel about going to war with countries that haven't attacked us? What would he say about placing sanctions, embargoes, etc. on countries that weaken and kill, because we don't like them? What would he say about the crime, homelessness, hunger, corruption, etc that we see in America?

We have a "leadership" that professes to be followers of Christ, yet their lip service doesn't produce any actions that are scripturally sound. You have so-called Christian leaders calling for the assassination of heads of state, celebrating others illnesses, and calling others belief systems and Prophets evil and Satanic. You have mega churches now full of wealth, primarily for those that head them, in neighborhoods, where people can barely afford to eat or eat at all.

Now I don't want people to think I'm beating up on Christians for two reasons: First and foremost, if there was a growing Jewish or Muslim movement that had such political power and leaders in place and were guilty of the same things, I would be just as critical.

Now some may raise the BS flag because I haven't said a peep about AIPAC or the ADL for instance, and while I do hold strong opinions of their actions, as you know as a Muslim who is also black, the very moment I say a word against those groups, I will be labeled an Anti-Semite, so rather than go down that road, just know, that the same things I dish out about Evangelicals, I also hold these beliefs about other groups as well.

Secondly, these guys are not even Christians anyway in my humble opinion. I have been to Church, grew up in the Church, and was raised as a Christian by a Pastor, long enough to see in scripture that they are pseudo-Christians at best.

Lets be honest, if you care more about what others do and believe, rather than helping the poor, the sick, etc. you are already on that downward slope of being anti-Christ. The moment you can hate someone because they are different or believe different, the moment you believe in building bigger churches and helping the wealthy, the more you believe in racist and supremacist ideals, the moment you can not care about the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives because they believe something else or supposedly "hate you", you are increasingly showing that you are adverse to that which you profess.

Its time for those in politics to not run from religion, but to embrace it, but embrace it in a way where truth is separated from falsehood. We should call people on their beliefs, especially when they use them to try and get some political advantage. If religion truly guided politicians we could be a prosperous, tolerant, peaceful society, for all citizens no matter what. But the proof is in the pudding and we see what the reality is.

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