Thursday, July 12, 2007

Religous Extremists & The Real Attack on Faith


Victor Hugo once wrote: "Be obliged to acknowledge this: Infallibility is not infallible, there can be error in dogma." It is sad to see how much we have forgotten that simple bit of wisdom.

When did our civil discourse, our debate of public policy become a question of good vs. evil? When did we redefine a person's worth in the eyes of the Almighty as which political philosophy they are prepared to embrace without question? Is there really a difference in what side of the aisle your pew is on?

There are some in America today who definitely think so. As has happened many times in our history, we find ourselves again debating what our founding fathers believed, and what some claim those same founders wanted all of us to believe. Thomas Jefferson was wary of mixing God and government, but John Witherspoon felt just as strongly that our nation was and should always be guided by "divine providence." So which is it? Honestly? I don't know.

However, there are few things I do know. Government is not a religion, it is a function. Ideology is not theology and should never be followed as such. Political operatives are professionals not prophets and should never go unchallenged when they claim to have a lock on truth. A nation founded by Judeo-Christians is not a mandate to create an exclusively Judeo-Christian nation.

To claim that God would vote for you is a combination of arrogance and ignorance on a biblical scale.

"Ubi Caritas et amor Deus ibi est. --Where charity and love are, there God is." There God is. Not in political telecasts masquerading as evangelism. Not in scripted sound bytes trying to re-define who is, or is not, a "person of faith."

God is not a member of any political party. To claim otherwise, to suggest otherwise, to infer otherwise truly is blasphemous. Those who would use religion to gain an advantage in debates over public policy cheapen our national heritage as a land founded by people fleeing religious intolerance.

Look no further than the public gallery of United States Sentate to see the real"attacks on faith." Where a small group of angry bigots sought to terrorize an American Hindu Cleric, Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada. Three anti-American bigots all belonging to a group misnamed "Operation Save America", traveled to Washington from North Carolina, to show how hateful, how ignorant and how anti-American they are. They did this by interrupting the Senate invocation. Why? Because the minister praying didn't share their narrow, paranoid, fear-driven ideas about who God is, and who we all are supposed to hate.

This is The true attack on faith, it is an attack on the very foundation of American greatness "E Pluribus Unum." Our diversity.

There is an act of terrorism happening before our eyes. It is the hijacking of faith, where the goal is neither salvation nor enlightenment, but rather political advantage. "There can be error in dogma." Victor Hugo's warning is one we would do well to heed.

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