Curb Your God

As Religion Tightens Grip on the
Military, Americans Grow Agnostic

Religious fundamentalism is on the rise within the U.S. armed forces, a recent paper argues, with support of high-ranked officers. The issue has concerned defenders of the constitutional separation of church and state, given the military’s sway over the government.
It also goes against the trend observed in the American society at large, which indicates that a greater than ever percentage of the population now considers themselves non-religiously affiliated. At least, 46 million Americans told that much to a Pew research study.
The discrepancy can be added to the overall disconnect between the military community, which in over a decade has been thrown into two unpopular, and vicious, conflicts, and the rest of the American society, which seems oblivious to it. It’s unclear, though, whether this tug of war benefits either side.
The truth is, as the Pentagon reinforces its grab of a huge percentage of the U.S. budget, and resists attempts at accountability and change, it also grows apart from the mainstream of U.S. society, more concerned about income disparity, unemployment, hunger, and social inequality.
On the other hand, the rise of religious fanaticism and so-called messianic faiths has been linked around the world to deterioration of social conditions, impoverishment and its consequent gearing off education-based knowledge to ‘magical’ thinking, and the literal teachings of the bible.
No wonder during the campaign to the U.S. Presidency, Republican candidates have tried to outdo each other in blaming higher education for the lack of ‘fundamental values,’ which may be roughly translated into repeating dogmas about the natural world first formulated over 2,000 years ago.
That an institution that has been waging an expensive set of wars with such a low approval and understanding from the general public has also been accused of discriminating against sex minorities, and turning a blind eye to its widespread culture of rape and violence against women, is only another expected component of such a toxic mix.
But the fact that that same public, not quite cognitive to the interplay between military spending and depletion of social programs, has been increasingly turned off by the church’s policies towards those so-called sex minorities, should be actually considered a sign of evolution. And Continue reading

Holiday Fare

A Non-Believers’ Shout at
the Crossroads of the World

It’s that time of the year again. The great American tradition of pluralism and tolerance gets stretched to the limit as the country is blanketed with religions candor. A time to supposedly celebrate our humanity turns into an all out feast of devotion and shopping.
Christmas being the biggest religious holiday, many think that it means the same to everyone. Or that it should. Despite the Founding Fathers’ explicit aim at keeping church and state apart, everywhere we look, the first tramples the latter. Now, some are pushing back.
Concerned that people may be forgetting that that this country was founded on ideas and laws, not faith and piety, American Atheists decided to use the occasion to remind us that not everyone is on the same page. So they just put up a billboard at Times Square, New York.
Do we have to use the cliche, ‘all hell broke lose’ to characterized the (over) reaction of some media pundits? Or much prior to this, there was already another concerted effort to label ‘war on Christmas’ any initiative that says otherwise? Who knows and who cares? Well, atheists now care.
Not just them, but also Jews, Muslims, Hindus, do we need to keep on going? Except that other faiths, perhaps used to play second fiddle, don’t even complain about it. And there’s an implicit, unwritten code preaching that, even though there’s no doubt that ‘my god is better and bigger than yours,’ I don’t mind that you worship yours.
That is, as long as you’re worshiping one god or another, right? Now, for those who dare not to have a preferred god or cult to follow, and don’t even care about it either way, the rules of ecumenical patronizing Continue reading