Monday, March 19 , 2018, 11:35 am | Fair 59º


Randy Alcorn: America Is Right to Reject the Tyranny of Kings and of Gods

Millions of people adamantly believe in stuff for which there is no valid evidence or even plausible theory. Worse, they obstinately reject evidence or logical arguments that refute their beliefs.

They prefer to live in delusion rather than reconsider their convictions in the face of facts, and easily succumb to the incendiary rhetoric of demagogues who rally them for crusades to impose those beliefs on everyone.

A petrified mind can turn a heart into stone. And, as it has throughout human history, so much of what now troubles the world derives from religious beliefs held with a ferocity that engenders a desolation of humanity played out in the homicidal savagery of sectarian and interfaith violence.

Why, then, would any rational, moral, human being encourage or support unquestioning dogma or ideology?

Yet, here comes Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaking with the flowing fervor of a preacher at a revival meeting exhorting a predominantly religious audience to rise up and restore “our values” on America. As if leading a crusade against infidels, he asks them to imagine, not millions of fellow Americans, but millions of “courageous conservatives” and “people of faith” rising up.

“Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values,” he rhapsodizes.

And what are those values? “Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage” Cruz gushes.

There you go: Imagine a theocracy, a government that imposes religious beliefs through force of law. For Cruz and the Congregation of Theocentric Wackadoddles, separation of church and state is not a value, it is an impediment. And, although he speaks passionately about liberty as inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution, Cruz considers those rights subject to further review by a divine authority.

Cruz is the latest politician preaching America’s subservience to a diety, following Rick Santorum, Michele Bachman and a parade of politician prophets who believe, along with many American Christians, that America was founded as a Christian nation and will continue to be blessed by God only as long as it remains faithful to him and adheres to Christian principles — oh, and unquestioningly supports Israel.

In their effort to keep the nation in God’s good graces, Christian groups have become increasingly active in American politics, especially with their intense efforts to prevent same-sex marriage, deny women’s reproductive rights, and interfere with public education to ensure that religious superstition and myth are taught at the expense of science and historical fact.

That these people, without a shred of valid scientific evidence, can adamantly believe in a deity, yet steadfastly reject global warming and evolution that are supported by volumes of valid scientific evidence is reason enough for rational people to keep them away from the gears of government.

While the fearful faithful fret that unless Christian principles are maintained America will be abandoned by God and crumble into debauchery, they selectively apply and conveniently interpret those principles, from dubious “Holy Scripture,” to support certain prejudices or to affect desired outcomes.

For example, homosexuality is along with divorce, adultery, fornication and eating pork forbidden in the Old Testament, yet activist Christians expend their righteous fervor condemning homosexuality while those other Biblical prohibitions are rarely even mentioned, let alone condemned.

Imagine if divorce, adultery and eating bacon were grounds for legal discrimination, or prosecution. How many Christians could throw the first stone? Rock gardens across America would be safe.

And where does the Bible dictate that the sanctity of marriage is limited to one man and one woman? How many of Jehovah’s favorite patriarchs did he give multiple wives and concubines? So, why aren’t the faithful supporting polygamy? Their god did. Religious based principles are morality à la carte selected by tastes and times.

Thankfully, invoking religious nonsense to suppress or prohibit civil liberties is being challenged in today’s America. Although the United States remains one of the most Christian nations on earth, increasing numbers of Americans report no religious affiliation. The backlash to anti-gay laws, disguised as freedom of religion legislation, not only demonstrated that Americans support separation of church and state, but also unmasked America’s true god — money.

When economic interests — including some of the nation’s largest corporations — openly and sternly objected to anti-gay legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, those states’ politicians quickly adjusted their “Christian principles” to placate those economic interests.

Folks like Ted Cruz who want to lead America into a Christian theocracy haven’t got a prayer. America is evolving as a predominantly secular nation. This scares the hell out of some Christians. But, not to worry, it is not devotion to any religion that blesses America. It is devotion to human rights, justice and ideals of personal freedom that blesses America.

America did not throw off the tyranny of kings only to embrace the tyranny of gods.

— Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara political observer. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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