OPINION: Of Capitols & Cathedrals (AKA Politics & Religion)
In this season of politically charged rhetoric from our leaders, the press and the internet, tempers flare.
So in the spirit of civic duty I would like to start a friendly dialogue regarding our state of the Union. Hopefully I will not add fuel to the fire, but provide food for thought.
I find it amazing that politics and religion have so much in common. Both are belief systems that require one to suspend all logic to believe what is said as gospel. But just because one believes something to be true doesn’t necessarily make it so. Both politics and religion stretch the truth, and develop their own facts – some supernatural – that true believers accept without question.
Politics and religion both state their philosophies through dogma and doctrine: religious people have the Bible, and politicos have the Constitution. Many Christians have favorite verses of scripture and political minded people have their favorite Amendments. Good Christians have many varied views when it comes to the Gospels: for some, John 3:16 is the most important. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
For others the Sermon on the Mount makes more sense: Turn the other cheek; Love thy neighbor; Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, etc. (I fall into this second category.)
Some in the political realm consider the First Amendment more important than the Second, and vice versa: freedom of speech verses the right to own firearms. These different camps have drawn lines in the sand exclaiming, “Don’t tread on me!”
“If you didn’t have the right to own guns how could you protect your right of free speech?” verses “If you didn’t have free speech there wouldn’t be any rights at all! That’s why it’s listed first.” The U.S. Constitution can be a very complicated document indeed. It can be interpreted differently by Constitutional scholars, just as the Bible can be interpreted differently by religious scholars.
Religion has different denominations and our political system has different parties. And these opposing factions are, most of the time, at odds with one another. I chalk it up to human nature: to each his own, no matter how bat-shit crazy it may seem. A person in this great country has a right to believe what he or she believes is the truth. I respect that right, but how can I respect a person who espouses a hateful philosophy. If the philosophy is tainted, so is the adherent. How can you respect a hateful, divisive person?
It’s senseless to argue with a religious zealot or a radical politico, left or right. They are locked in their ideology and won’t budge an inch. Sometimes I find it’s like arguing with a Coke machine: the only thing you get is Coke. So I just don’t argue. I am of a decidedly moderate-liberal viewpoint and I believe that moderation is the key to understanding the others’ point of view. Too bad our whacked-out Congress can’t grasp this simple notion.
Help stomp out religious and political bigotry!
The Donald is — in some ways — a lot like the Christ: they both promise us salvation. Jesus has his Disciples and the Donald has his Cabinet. The Disciples were mainly illiterate, and the Cabinet is mainly inept and unqualified. Jesus of Nazareth had his Judas and Donnie of New York has his Flynn, and both disciples betrayed their masters and spilled their guts to the authorities. Followers of both men believe everything that was spoken – literally. But one made it a crusade for truth and justice, while the other is a pathological liar. Both men have their faithful followers – or base – with some wearing “I’m with Jesus!” tee-shirts and others wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.
Jesus ministered to the poor and was inclusive. Donald ministers to the rich and is divisive. And in the end, one was crucified, and the other may be impeached.
It takes a whole lot of faith to believe in something so preposterous as the Immaculate Conception, or that Donald Trump is actually fit to be President… even if some would call his election victory a true miracle. You gotta have faith, but Mark Twain once suggested that “Faith is believing something you know ain’t so.”
Still, I have faith that America will survive this exhausting and embarrassing ordeal.
Meanwhile our Vice President, Father Pence, is trying to turn the country into a theocracy. You’ve heard of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Say hello to the Christian Republic of America. What about separation of Church and State? Not even a consideration…
I imagine the White House as more of a nuthouse/day-care-center. There’s the Lincoln Room, the East Room, the Blue Room, the Cabinet Room, and so on. Why isn’t there a Time Out Room? And what about a padded cell?
I read “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” (Bandy Lee, MD, Yale) where 27 nationally known, respected psychiatrists assess the erratic behavior of our president. Generally speaking, they concur that he suffers from Pathological Narcissism, Sociopathy, Dementia and Cognitive Impairment. They all agree that the poor “hedonist” needs psychiatric care – asap.
I tend to disagree. The Donald doesn’t need a shrink.
He needs an exorcist!