Friday, August 29, 2008

____ Bless America!

Why are the Democrats trying to make me hate them? I watched (thanks to YouTube) most of the keynote speeches from the DNC in Denver. We even watched Gore and Obama's speeches live. And while I was suitably inspired with the words - Bill Clinton and Al Gore especially - and extremely happy and hopeful about the results this November, I was also dismayed at the level of religiosity present in each and every speech. It was everywhere! I felt myself wince each time someone said anything more religious than 'God Bless America.'

Not that I was one of those who thought Obama was an atheist. I heard the rumor several months ago and the possibility did excite me for a day or two, I quickly realized that it wasn't true. So it was never a big deal. Just because he's intelligent does not mean that he's an atheist. But he's struck me as a committed secularist, at least as far as government is concerned. In fact, the entire Democratic party has been that way for years, which is one of the big reasons I am a Democrat (there are other reasons, by the way).

But this election cycle feels different. Instead of keeping their faith to themselves, they have been making big shows of it whenever the opportunity presents itself. It seems obvious that they are doing this in an attempt to steal votes away from Republicans. And it appears to be working, at least in some crowds. This just illustrates how fickle and shallow the conservative vote really is. All they seem to want is someone who appears to carry a bible in their briefcase. In a way, I don't really mind, because the Democratic 'agenda' seems to be what it usually is. If they have to change their appearance a little bit, put on a candy coat to lure conservative into the voting booth then more power to them.

But I heartily dislike this trend. I dislike our society that encourages and necessitates all of this religious flamboyance. It is a well known fact that an atheist could never be elected president, but it seems that these days no president could be elected who did not publicly affirm and even parade his faith each day. The stakes are continually raised as the American people continually demand more and more religious leaders.

It would do the entire nation - perhaps even the entire world - good to remember that we are a secular nation with a secular government. This reminder should come with a little bit of an education as well: secular government does not mean an atheist government. A secular nation is not a nation where churches are razed and Christians are persecuted. A secular nation is one that allows all kinds of religions to thrive. And, since most religions are mutually exclusive, there can be no religion in government either, otherwise the equality and fairness leaks out until we become what the conservatives think they want: a Christian Nation. And a Christian Nation is no better than any kind of religious nation. Think Saudi Arabia. You'd love it if they were Christians instead of Muslims, right? The Bible also calls for the killing of adulterers.

I know I'll never live in an atheist state - I'm fine with that. As long as America can retain its secular roots, this will continue to be one of the greatest nations ever.

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