Thursday, March 13, 2014

The burden of riches

AlterNet features an excerpt from Robert Boston's new book, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. The Fundies claim they are being persecuted. Nope. Persecuted is what happens to Christians in Saudi Arabia who may be imprisoned for their beliefs.

But in America religion has an exalted status: All kinds of tax perks with no annual forms, exemptions from various laws, lawmakers responsive to their lobbying, and deference when crimes are investigated.

So why the cry of persecution? It is because, in spite of their exalted status, Fundies don't get everything they want.
In other words, our nation is not the theocracy that many in the Religious Right would prefer. When they attempt to make our society more theocratic, plenty of Americans resist. Our refusal to roll over and submit to them is, to their mind, a form of persecution.
It is easy to tell that Fundies want a theocracy. According to the website of Alliance Defending Freedom (theirs, not yours) their heroes aren't Washington, Jefferson, James Madison, or Roger Williams. Their hero is Constantine, the Roman Caesar who made Christianity the state religion.

Some of the ways we fight back: We're gaining ground in rights for sexual minorities. We don't allow religion into public schools -- protecting all those "unsaved" tykes. We disallow religious displays on public property, especially monuments of the Ten Commandments and nativity scenes.
The great irony here is that what the Religious Right is trying to do – forge a government that bows to its repressive theology – would result in a great deal of persecution. We’ve had a taste of this already, and it’s a bitter taste indeed.

When the Religious Right raises bogus claims of persecution, it belittles the sufferings of those believers who truly are persecuted. I would advise members of that movement to learn what real persecution is.

Scott Dannemiller of the Good Men Project takes a look at the tendency of some Christians to declare how blessed they feel when financial fortune comes their way. Here's his take on the bad theology:

* Saying material fortune is God's blessing reduces God to the equivalent of handing out M&Ms to kids for good behavior.

* It also insults all those who are poor yet still follow where God leads.

No, riches aren't a blessing, they're a burden. Because the real question is: How are you going to use all those riches to help someone else?

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