Let me begin by stating that, although I’m not a church person, I am a religious person. My spirituality and my belief in compassion for others is an essential part of my being. Religion can play an important role in keeping order and preventing some from infringing on the rights of others. I wish everyone would follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or, if you prefer, the Native American version: “Help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.”
I also believe that we would all be better off if we followed the serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Almost every other aspect of religion is relative. Take the 10 Commandments. Though the most important commandment is to not kill, devout followers of many faiths – particularly those on the far right – routinely justify killing as a part of war or as a necessary part of policing. Though another commandment is to not steal, many of the pious ignore the commandment in the interests of greedy corporations and by gaming the system. Many of the so-called pious also ignore commandments pertaining to adultery (think Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, et al), bearing false witness (I’m referring to you Fox News Channel), honoring the Sabbath (that would get in the way of business), and coveting the possessions of others (How else are we to motivate the masses to purchase things they don’t need?).
And, even though many on the far right continue to claim the religious high ground, they continue to ignore the portions of the Bible that are inconsistent with their beliefs while demanding strict adherence to other portions of the Bible that suit their needs. They denounce abortion as murder yet call for our nation to engage in wars. They demand that monuments to the 10 commandments be placed on public property even though they refuse to follow them. They quote Biblical passages condemning homosexuality while ignoring the passages condemning divorce, the consumption of shellfish, and the wearing of more than two fabrics at a time.
Yet, every time they are confronted with their hypocrisy, they either deny the obvious, change the subject or simply state that all humans are sinners and they will be “saved” if they only ask for forgiveness.
One can only conclude that political right wingers are the ultimate relativists. They have no faith…no moral compass. They worship free markets and corporate profits over human kindness and compassion.
For far too many, religion is only a political tool with which to flog their opponents in the name of God. In that regard, they are no different than ISIS.