The Right to be You

Further to Jill Dennison’s excellent post regarding the importance of separating Church and State, a certain Christian fundamentalist responded. Did they provide anything coherent, logical, or fact-based? Their text shall be in purple, and Jill’s in blue.

The content is full of flawed logic and faulty arguments. It is only the whine of an unbeliever who does not want rules and regulations that she disagrees with. Never mind what other people want, it is all about what she wants.

The title alone is offensive as it has limited application. Its focal point is on unbelievers only and somehow conveys that the secular person is downtrodden, oppressed, and denied liberty because he or she has to follow rules they do not like or want.

That title denies the Christian and the unborn the right to be themselves. According to that author, only the unbeliever has the right to be themselves. What about the unborn? Do they not get a voice in this discussion, and if not, why?

Is this even remotely close to what Jill is saying?

I think that the ‘wall of separation’ between Church and State is critical to maintaining the democratic foundations of this nation.  If 100% of all people who vote and pay taxes in the nation were of the same religious beliefs, then it might not be critical, then a theocracy might be workable.  But in this nation where there are so many different religions, to form a theocracy would be to enslave a large portion of the populace.  Yes, I said ‘enslave’ and that is precisely what I mean.

Let me start out with an example:  What if I told you that there is a bill before Congress to ban the production and consumption of pork and pork products?  (No, there isn’t really such a bill … this is a hypothetical … bear with me here).  The reason?  Well, two of this nation’s major religions, Islam and Judaism, prohibit the consumption of pork and pork products, so in a nod to those two religions, the government must ban pork products.

“BUT … I’m neither Muslim nor Jewish!!!! I want my bacon!!!”

… you decry.  Well, you may have a point there.  But then … I’m not Christian, so why should I have to live under the laws of that religion?  Why should I be forbidden from having an abortion, or marrying a person of my own gender?  Do you get what I’m saying here?  Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

What a surprise, the fundie is attacking an argument that wasn’t actually made. Am I shocked? Of course not, this is his preferred method of operation.

Everyone has the right to live their life how they choose. However, it is not the secularist who actively tries to strip away the rights of others. Fundamentalist Christians have been trying for years to direct and shape the laws and rules of a nation defined by the distinction between Church and State. The First Amendment speaks of freedom of religion, not a Christianity-dominated theocracy. My esteemed fundie opponent on the other hand… well, he’d love to force everyone to live by the laws of his particular version of Christianity. He has no respect or tolerance for other positions. Would he seriously permit Jews and Muslims to practice their beliefs in his version of society? Would he allow agnostics and atheists any roles in government? Would he show any respect for democratic institutions?

But then … I’m not Christian, so why should I have to live under the laws of that religion? Why should I be forbidden from having an abortion, or marrying a person of my own gender? Do you get what I’m saying here? Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

Maybe if she talked in real English and used the English language she would not have to make those last couple of remarks. Her questions there only expose one fact, she and other unbelievers do not want to live by God’s right and wrong standards. She wants to create her own and live by her subjective ideas.

The problem is, if she forces anyone else, like Christians, to follow her concepts, then she becomes just like the people she is complaining about. Also, if all people thought and acted like she did, we would not have an ordered society. It would be total anarchy.

For someone who complains bitterly of insults and attacks, the fundie’s first paragraph is deeply hypocritical, and exposes merely his own inability to understand straight-forward statements. Here, the fundie exposes his wishes, that he would deny the LGBT community rights and freedoms, using his faith to justify doing so, even though this would violate the First Amendment. Hence the reason for Jill’s post in the first place – to explain why fundamentalist thinking is both dangerous and hypocritical.

The fundie has one thing right – unbelievers do not want to be bound to the laws and rules of a deity they don’t believe it. Nor should they be. The fundie would not want to be bound to Islamic law, and why should he be? He does not live in the USA, but if he did, he would be entirely free to practice his beliefs. He would not be free to impose those views on others and the reality is, he is whinging that he is not allowed to.

Another problem is that while she does not want to live under what she terms to be ‘Christian’ laws, she is forcing Christians to live under her laws or what laws she seems should be in place. Why should Christians have to live solely under secular laws?

The Christian is part of the public, they pay taxes and they have the right to say how a nation is governed. Government is not a secular monopoly. Yet, that author has no problem silencing the voices of Christians because she wants to do what she wants.

Not only is that selfish behavior, but it is also destructive action as well. She doesn’t like a law so she forces everyone else to live by her demands and desires. She calls for the separation of church and state yet, a secular only government has failed the people of all nations for 6000+ years.

Why shouldn’t the laws of a nation founded on secular principles be secular?! Furthermore, how are Christians unable to practice their beliefs in the USA, under the Constitution? Answer: it makes no difference. The Christian can practice their faith, the Jew and the Muslim and the Sikh and the Buddhist and all the followers of every religion can practice their faith. All of them are expected to obey the laws of the country, which are in place to ensure everyone is treated the same. Why the fundie feels that Christians should receive special privileges is beyond me – after all, the Jew and the Muslim and the Sikh and the Buddhist and all the followers of every religion pay taxes as well, as do atheists and agnostics, so why does the fundie think it reasonable to silence all of them?

I’d also like to know what he is referring to when he says secular governments have failed people for thousands of years?

She seems to be blind to the fact of what happens under communism, dictatorships, and totalitarian governments. Millions of people lose their rights and suffer the consequences. No Christian law has her losing her life on a whim.

It is only when they commit a horrific crime that unbelievers are put to death. No Christian law has them punished for being an unbeliever.

Is it only about death though, dear fundie? No. Besides, the Old Testament includes the death penalty for talking back to one’s parents, so can we rely upon Christianity to form the basis of laws that everyone has to live by? Not really.

Under a Christian theocracy, would same-sex couples be allowed to marry? No. Most same-sex couples would be non-believers, so this would be a direct affront to their rights. Under a Christian theocracy, would Muslims be allowed to publicly practice their beliefs? What would become of women’s rights and freedoms? The bottom line is that any form of theocracy cannot fairly represent everyone. That’s why it is not reasonable to force religious laws down people’s throats.

One of the reason Europeans came to this country some 400+ years ago was to escape religious persecution.

Her distortion of history does not go unnoticed. The pilgrims and other people who left Europe were mainly Christians and they were the ones that suffered the persecution. They were not the persecutors.

They went to a new land to have religious freedom not to escape religion or laws. Every society needs laws and unknown to that author almost all nations’ laws are based in some part on the Bible and its rules. Not all laws but the important ones.

Remarkable. The fundie is completely ignorant of the history here. Many Europeans were Christians yes, and they fled Europe for religious freedom – because of persecution from other Christians! So that means that Christians were also the persecutors! To quote from this article:

The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society. This conviction rested on the belief that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, in the interest of saving the souls of all citizens. Nonconformists could expect no mercy and might be executed as heretics. 

There’s more, and it’s more of the same non-sensical, illogical, strawman fallacies, which you can read at this link. I have to wonder if the fundie will ever drop his rhetoric, and practice his religion correctly.

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