Thursday, January 17, 2008

Politics and atheism

Obviously I haven't posted in forever, which is pretty typical. I suck at keeping up with blogs...I think my downfall was in graduate school--I didn't have time to sleep, much less update a blog. So yeah, I'm making excuses...sorry.

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I keep forgetting/coming home from work too exhausted to do anything/procrastinating. This is something that's really been bothering me though, and I figure that I may as well use my day off work to finally do it. (Benefit of working at a school: snow days!)

In case you hadn't noticed, it's an election year. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that's a bad thing--I'm just a little bit of a political junkie, so I love watching the candidates and discussing with them with anyone who will let me. :) I'm a passionate liberal, and I though that maybe I could look forward to supporting a candidate who doesn't talk incessantly about their personal relationship with Jesus.

Wow, wasn't that stupid and idealistic of me?

While the democratic field isn't nearly as overwhelming with it as the republicans, it's still way too much of an issue and I feel alienated by all the candidates on either side. I agree with some of them on policy, but the fact that politicians now have to discuss their personal religion to have a shot at the presidency really pisses me off. Allow me to go into more (angry) detail.

First of all, if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, why the fuck aren't you keeping it personal? That is, after all what the bible says to do...

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:5-6

For me, that just ties into personal vs. private life. To be perfectly honest, I don't give a shit who or what you pray for (or if you pray at all). I don't care about what politicians do on their own time, provided that they don't proselytize in public about the same things they do in private. But what politicians do that? Oh, right...Rep. Mark Foley, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Rep. Bob Allen, Michael Flory, Glenn Murphy Jr, Ted Klaudt (you should check that one out, it's particularly disgusting and reprehensible)...and that's just a selection of the more recent sexual hypocrisy scandals.

(note: yes, I know those are all republicans which seems awfully biased of me, but when I ran a google search for political sex scandals all the results were Republicans.)

So even once I get past the fact that politicians seem to be incapable of adequately separating their private religious lives from their public political lives, I'm still pissed off. I'm aware that the majority of Americans are religious, I really am. Statistically, politicians talking about their relationship with god, Jesus, and company is appealing to the majority of Americans. Basically, there aren't enough non-Christians in the population to make politicians think about alienating people with all the religion.

On top of all of that, there's the church-and-state thing. Bear with me here...I have no issue with an elected official being religious. Well, I usually don't. I'm not opposed to it in principle, but if the politician allows his/her religion to influence (or even outright determine) their policy decisions, that's a BIG FUCKING ISSUE. As far as I'm concerned, an individual who allows religion to influence their political/policy decisions is equivalent to having churches take a direct role in determining policy.

Finally (for now, at least), there are all the politicians and pundits who honestly believe that we are a Christian nation (we're not), that all the founding fathers were Christians (bullshit), that every president has been a Christian (more bullshit), and that atheists (an any other non-christian) cannot and should not be a patriot or an American citizen.

Alright, so this is clearly getting pretty damn long and I'm just getting really angry about it.

So, what's your opinion on this? Do you feel alienated by the role of politics in religion?