“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” – Thomas Jefferson
I’ve written and re-written this post four times already this morning. With each edit came the revelation that it had morphed into another version of a rant against those who are under the notion that we are a Christian nation because of majority rule. Well, I’ve written about that many times and with each word that appears before me on my word processor, it becomes inevitable that I find myself writing about it yet again. Regardless of how many times I hit the “back space” 0r “delete” key, my mind stubbornly returns to the concept of tyranny.
Through the cobwebs and scattered papers that litter the floor of my mind and amongst the remnant memories of thousands of books that I have read which sit on the dusty shelves of my recollective, there emerges the single, unadulterated and clear thought of why the religious right continues to hawk their snake oil salve that consists of the single mandate that we should all acquiesce to their dictates and doctrines.
Under A Mythological Thumb…
The word “tyranny” has been around for a while. It literally means a “cruel or unjust use of power,” and its etymology comes from the old French term, “tyrannie,” and can also be traced to the Latin “tyranny,” and as well from the Greek “tyrannia.” Basically, it addresses the rule of a tyrant, which itself means “absolute ruler,” which is an apt definition for the point of view of many religious people as to the authority their God has over the entire species, regardless of the individual beliefs or unbelief of any given person.
Sure, the fundamentalists are quick to bring up “free will,” but that concept is little more than a legal technicality that is used to thwart their twisted concept of reality where it concerns the penalty for a variety of acts and actions, up to and including the complete disregard for the belief that there exists a God in the first place. The fact remains that if someone puts a gun to your head and asks you a “yes or no” question, with the penalty for “no” being the strike of the weapons hammer upon the firing pin, then there really isn’t much of a choice. Either agree or die, and those are the choices that God gives, according to doctrine. You can either believe, accept and live forever in blissful eternity; or disbelieve, deny and live forever in torment and despair.
This is the divine thumb that the fundamentalist live under, and it is their fear of their God that not only keeps them in line, but also serves as the motivation for their insistence that they keep others in line as well. Soldiers for Christ, God’s majority army of the indoctrinated that are preaching a sermon of servitude that demand the obedience of the minority. This is the way of the bully. This is the base doctrine of tyranny.
To The Republic…
The United States of America is not a Democracy. We are a Democratic Republic, and this concept is personified with great accuracy in a statue that we are all familiar with. Lady Justice, with scales in one hand and sword in the other, and a blindfold covering her eyes. The blindfold represents objectivity, because justice should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness. Our Constitution was drafted with this concept in mind, and added the condition that the rights of the one should never be usurped by the will of the majority. This precept has resulted in the abolition of slavery during a time where the majority did not agree. This precept had resulted in the allowance of women to vote and own land. This precept has resulted in a plethora of anti-discrimination laws.
When this precept is abrogated, tyranny results, and it was the tyranny that resulted from Theocratic rule in pre-colonial Britain that forged the birth of our nation. Religion clouds the judgment of the believer and distorts the already unbalanced concept of Democracy – “majority rule” – by reinforcing it with a divine rebar. When the majority believe that God is the sole source of everything that which a society should be governed, the logical conclusion is a Dictatorship by Divine rule, and said Dictatorship will naturally be administered by a human representative of God.
Our species has been down this road a thousand times already, and there are extant governments that are proof positive of this reality. What is most unsettling is the ease at which a nation can be transformed into a Theocracy, and how the majority can be effortlessly convinced to not only march in lockstep toward their own destruction, but do it willingly, with great determination and be completely blinded into thinking they are doing the right thing by becoming agents of propaganda. In short, they are…
Paging Dr. Stockholm…
I often equate fundamental religious belief with Stockholm Syndrome, which is defined as the phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors to the point of defending them, and the hostages often mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The only difference is that the fundamentalist is guilty of voluntary captivity, which is indicative of their touting themselves as having “freedom in Christ.”
This becomes obvious when we consider the fundamentalists belief that God controls absolutely everything, but only give him credit for intervention when the situation and conditions lean toward, or are in their favor; but do not assign responsibility for when the situation and conditions lean to, or are detrimental to their well-being or the well-being of others, in general. This is cognitive dissonance at its base, and is the core dogma that results in the delusion of religious belief surrounding the grace of God for the good, and the responsibility of the believer and/or the mystery of God’s intentions, methods or will for the bad.
The whole of the reality that the fundamentalists have in consideration of their belief that their religious doctrines should be forged as the rule of law, that their God has the final authority over the lives of the entirety of the populace and their determination to do whatever they can to effect these precepts upon our species is fodder for a really terrific movie or book. In fact, it is the basis of the novel I am in the process of writing.
What scares me as an author is that each paragraph I write seems to be a precognition, and I don’t even recognize precognitive ability to be viable. I write something and then in short order I read where some fundamentalist politician or legislator has pushed it out in the form of a bill, and I await the result of whether or not it is passed into law with breath baited with a genuine fear for the future of our nation. My fears are furthered when I read the comments made by my fellow citizens, some of which chill me to the bone.
It is not my desire to destroy another person’s faith in their deity or deities. I am not unaware of the comfort that many derive from their faith. Who am I to take that away from another individual? Most of the Christians I know on a personal level make genuine attempts to be good people, and have enough to worry about getting through life relatively unscathed and, like myself, have no desire to push their personal ideologies on others, even in the voting booth.
Contrary to what the conservatives would have us believe, not all Christians think alike and there are a significant number of them who support the separation of church and state, the teaching of real science in our classrooms, and even though they may have a personal objection to abortion, they support the right of the individual woman to make that choice, herself. These Christians are very aware of the tyrannical ramifications of a Theocracy, mainly because they understand that there are those who hold the same disdain for “false Christians” as they do for unbelievers.
Belief or unbelief is a personal choice and one that can only be made by the individual. Whether or not someone chooses to question their beliefs, or to investigate the claims made by their religious leaders with regard to the natural world, including the sciences, is up to them. Most people can get along just fine being completely ignorant to the realities of climate change or to the facts that make up evolutionary theory. Many do not, though, and it is these individuals that make up some very large and well-funded organizations that have the singular goal of pushing the United States back a few hundred years and a few thousand miles east.
The former should be left to live and let live. The latter need the attention, determination and intestinal fortitude of an organized effort to move us forward in the direction of complete neutrality in government with respect to religious doctrine and dogma, and to the legal eradication of discrimination and the equality of rights for every human being.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, religion has no place in the governance of a free Republic and we would do well to get off our collective asses and get organized.