If Your Faith Comes First, You Should Not Be In Office…

“If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France

rick-perry-dominionismWhile busily combing the Interwebs for tonight’s piece, I came across this puff piece at Belief.net – it’s your general “oh-why-oh-why-can’t-these-effin’-atheists-just-shut-up?” generalizations. And guess who it’s about? Why, your pal and mine, the presidential wannabe I belittled last week. So of course, some outraged Christian is defending some politician’s ass-grabbing voter-pandering rubbish (that is, until he gets caught doing some not-so-Christian behavior, then it’s “we don’t know this guy, Rick WHO?”).

First, the general disclaimer:

OK. First off, let’s be clear: I take a philosophical back seat to no one in promoting the right of any American to worship — or not — the God or gods or Force or assorted plants, celestial bodies, etc., of their choice.

Yay.

And if they don’t believe in any of those things, I don’t have a problem with them putting up billboards, carrying signs or shouting from the public square their convictions as atheists or agnostics, either.

The fact that there needs to be a qualifier for this, bespeaks a sad state of affairs for this country.

This is America. Within our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are guarantees for both the practice and energetic espousal of religion, and freedom from religious persecution — whether against a particular group of believers, or those who do not believe.

Can I get a hallelujah? I can’t? Oh well…

Here’s where it gets really sticky:

But the pendulum has swung crazily too far when it comes to cries of separation of church and state” and every American’s right — even those running for elective offices — to live by their religious principles and express them.

No way. As the title of this piece indicates: if your faith comes first, you should NOT be in office. Because if swearing an oath to the constitution is superseded by your religious affiliation, how can you be trusted to make objective decisions that affect millions of people who are not of your faith?  You can’t be trusted with that. History proves that maxim correct. We have mountains of historical evidence that states that, in no uncertain terms, religious fanatics are inherently untrustworthy. Then the author goes out on a limb here:

Case in point: This weekend’s stadium prayer event spearheaded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He had, apparently, the audacity to look at the nation’s dismal state — a black hole of rising debt that led to an historic loss of the country’s top credit rating, deep unemployment, wars that continue to bleed us of lives and treasure, and a seeming crisis of morals and morale — and call for believers to fast, repent and pray for America.

It’s risible. Fasting, repenting, prayer? When has any of this had any other effect, other than to stroke the egos of co-dependent sheeple who have inherited inferiority complexes from their superstitious mumbo-jumbo about original sin? They might as well take the advice of some joker on Pope-rah about the ‘Secret’ or ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. Or order a self-help book.

And, as if throwing gasoline on the already self-immolating critics that arose, he and others had the gall to close their prayers with mention of Jesus. That is what Christians, do, you know – invoke the name of the founder and namesake of their faith. People of other faiths were invited, too. Perhaps there was a conspicuous absence by non-Christians, but that was a choice, too.

Now the author is simply indulging in hyperbolic rhetoric. The actual fact is, if it was an event on anyone but the taxpayer’s dime, who really cares? Not a whole lot.

But I wonder: would that be any less “offensive” had a Muslim taken the stage to open a public prayer with “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent” and closing them with “O Allah! Accept our invocation”?  Or, for that matter, a Rastafarian’s “Blessed is the name of Our Lord God Jah Ras Tafari,” a Hindu’s “We worship the three-eyed One, Lord Shiva,” a Buddhist proclaiming “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the supreme Sangha,” a Native American punctuating ritual smoke with “O Great Spirit of our ancestors, I raise my pipe to you,” or a Wiccan chanting “Holy Earth Mother, flesh of the world. . . .”

Personally, I take offense at all of the above. Because it’s all crap. Which makes an excessive display of that thing called ‘faith’ more disgusting. But hey…I usually keep my mouth shut on the topic until addressed, or when I happen to overhear something especially stupid. That’s when I chirp up. But that’s just me.

Smooth as gravel, the author then declaims:

A chief executive — of a state or of our nation –bringing 30,000 fellow believers to pray in an arena may seem over-the-top today, but leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is hardly new.

A., hell yes it’s way over the top. B., in America, leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is indicative of a distinct bias, and chances are very strong said leader isn’t going to be leading Muslims or Jews in prayer. C., that was a violation of SOCAS, whether it happens now or in the past. Argument from tradition is an argument from shit.

In our increasingly secularized age, though, anyone who believes in moral absolutes, supports  traditional marriage or abhors the millions of potential lives lost to abortion (both interfaith issues, by the way) gets labeled “hater.”

Newsflash: NO. These are not ‘interfaith’ issues, these are human issues. And again – if your duty as an objective officer of the constitution takes a backseat to your ‘faith’ (or whatever you want to call your rigmarole), then no, you shouldn’t be in office.

Disagree with those stands? No problem, speak out. But it seems when it comes to sharing faith and its values, well, that justifies a tsunami of hyperbole and calls for repression from a vocal minority.

So, wait…what exactly is he talking about? You mean THESE crazy lefties?

Despite the warm greeting Perry received inside Reliant Stadium, not everyone was pleased.

Brandy Deason was among a group of protesters outside who chanted and waved signs in opposition to what they called an unconstitutional mixing of church and state.

“I am happy to let people know it’s not OK for a government official to hold a religious meeting to try to solve our problems,” said Deason, an atheist. “Logic and problem-solving is the only way to go with this, not by prayer.”

What a hypocritical asshole. He tells people it’s okay to do this, and then he vilifies them for doing it? It’s not a surprising pattern: people (especially when they’re religious) practice double-standards, and recite the selective highlights, and how dare anyone criticize anything when belief is involved? And belief doesn’t move mountains; Mohammed has to walk to it despite his declamations. It’s all traditional pop-psychobabble nonsense with some poetic shared soliloquies to make the ineffective feel effective.

So in monosyllabic content: faith bad, facts good. No more monotheistic mollycoddling. Prayer doesn’t work, repenting is just a slab of that old time religious guilt, and fasting is simply self-deprivation. 

And Perry saying, “It’s time to hand this thing over to God, and say ‘God, you’re just gonna have to fix this” is just another way of saying “I’m not going to do jack shit, and hide behind religion while I’m not doing anything.”

And those people, my friends, are a dime a dozen in this country. We have enough helpless folks struggling, we don’t need another one in a high political office. We need someone who will actually do something besides pander.

Till the next post, then.

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19 Responses to If Your Faith Comes First, You Should Not Be In Office…

  1. hogarm says:

    After 2000 years, I’ll bet Satan has his God imitation voice down pretty good. How did George W. Bush know that voice in his head telling him to go kill Muslims was his God’s voice and not his Satan’s voice?
    Anyone who thinks a God is telling them to run for President has several defects that disqualify them from running for President. Gullibility is one, a messiah complex is another.

  2. jimmer54 says:

    KA
    Well said. I figure that when any candidate shows their true colors and reveal themselves as simpering slaves to their faith. Then they are truly unfit to be anywhere near a legislative, executive or judicial position.

    And by the way. These people, Perry , Bachman etc. are all college grads and those colleges have truly failed at educating them. What a disgrace in the 21st century.

  3. Bronze Dog says:

    Add in Perry’s crazy secessionism and the ways he wants to rearrange a the government, the fact that he’s even considered a front-runner for a party primary makes me feel like I’ve lost my sense of national identity.

  4. Bailey says:

    The question the writer asks about whether there would be an outcry if it was a Muslim/Buddhist/Rastafarian event makes me laugh. Can this person even imagine the reaction from the Christian right if, first of all, the governor of Texas was Muslim? And then tried to hold a Muslim prayer rally? And lo, how the cries of “anti-American” would fly. To be non-Christian is to be anti-American to people like that. It’s absurd.

    And additionally, yes. Atheists and secular Americans would also have opposed a Buddhist, Muslim, Rastafarian or Hindu prayer rally led and advertised by a state official for the exact same reasons outlined above. Because it’s hokum on the taxpayer’s dime, and because it crosses a line with regards to the separation of church and state.

  5. Robert Mims says:

    Your reaction seems to prove my point: that extremists on both sides are all to anxious to restrict freedom of expression and practice, in the public square, of any unpopular view. And every worldview is unpopular with someone. I resent my co-religionists’ efforts to shout down skeptics just as much as I do skeptics efforts to separate people from what is part and parcel of their natures. Was Perry’s “prayer rally” over the top? Oh, yeah. Did he have a right to do it? Absolutely.refrained from dropping all his “g”s. Should he be elected because of his faith? Nope. Should he be ruled out because of his faith? Not any more than if he was a Muslim, atheist, agnostic, gay, blond or even if he (Bob Mims, author of the beliefnet blog in question. BTW, the site is callled “BeliefNet.” Is it so odd, then, that it might be pro-faith?).

  6. Sue Blue says:

    And let’s not forget that Perry and others like him will happily accept all your hard-earned money in payment for “not doing jack shit while hiding behind religion”.

  7. KA says:

    Robert:

    Your reaction seems to prove my point: that extremists on both sides are all to anxious to restrict freedom of expression and practice, in the public square, of any unpopular view.

    Actually no. You aren’t paying attention. My point first & foremost is that Perry can’t be trusted to make anything resembling an objective judgment call. Note that I didn’t critique the rally (scary as it was) – my focus was on the pandering politician.

    And every worldview is unpopular with someone.

    You illustrated that quite nicely by taking pot shots @ the people OUTSIDE the stadium, protesting the rally.

    I resent my co-religionists’ efforts to shout down skeptics just as much as I do skeptics efforts to separate people from what is part and parcel of their natures.

    It’s not ‘part & parcel’ of anyone’s nature. It’s a brainwashing, is what it is. Religion is perhaps 1 of the most unnatural things people do.

    Was Perry’s “prayer rally” over the top?

    It was a con man shouting out to the gullible.

    Did he have a right to do it?

    That wasn ‘t even in contest.

    Should he be elected because of his faith? Nope. Should he be ruled out because of his faith? Not any more than if he was a Muslim, atheist, agnostic, gay, blond or even if he (Bob Mims, author of the beliefnet blog in question.

    The actual fact is, that if someone is so fanatical, I could care less what his faith (or lack thereof) is. I would object to anyone who exhibits a zealotry that is so frightening. He has ties to some seriously whack people, who are in a nutshell, what we would deem ‘dominionist’. That is, they want a ‘god-driven’ government. Which translates to ‘nobody at the wheel’.

    BTW, the site is callled “BeliefNet.” Is it so odd, then, that it might be pro-faith?).

    Odd is too kind a word for it. Belief in the afterlife poisons everything: it teaches people of a judgment that will never come, that some mystical sky daddy will come down someday (someday! someday!), & balance the scales & reward the just & censure the wrong-doers. There is nobody up there. So it’s all false promises and fairy tales.

  8. ChuckA says:

    [Pardon me, KA, for the following series of comments; which I'm separating because of link contents. I'm trying to avoid having to wait for moderation, doncha know?] :shock:

    “Foistly”…
    I’m guessing Robert Mims…more than likely being a childhood (child abused?), heavily indoctrinated believer(as many of us escapee atheists were!)…hasn’t paid serious attention to the likes of the dangerous Christian Theocratic “Dominionists”, or the also Theocratic and nasty group: “The Family” (whose membership includes the likes of high ranking Repigs like Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, John Ensign, Chuck Grassley, Jim Inhope, etc.
    We’ve periodically discussed, here on AO, the oft unnoticed connection of that organization’s bunch of loonies with the infamous “kill the Gays” crap in Uganda.
    For some cogent info on that totally bat-shit group:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Family_(Christian_political_organization)

  9. ChuckA says:

    Perry, as we atheists all know, gets away with all his “over the top” prayer and faith-based bullshit for the exact same reason that the majority of Christian Americans believe in prayer…and all the rest of the Abrahamic bullshit contained in the Bible (Babble?), Qur’an, and the Book of Morons. Which always brings up for THIS atheist the subject of:
    “Nothing fails like Prayer!”
    On that note…here’s one of my favorite links on the subject (also in our right panel as :
    http://www.youtube.com/user/GIIVideo#p/u/17/BH0rFZIqo8A

  10. ChuckA says:

    Also, I’m thinking of George Carlin’s humorous, and, by now, rather famous YouTube; BUT INSTEAD…
    here’s a rather nicely detailed debunking article on the subject at Ebon Musings great atheist article Site:
    “Nothing Fails Like Prayer – Does God really listen to us?”:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/prayer.html

  11. ChuckA says:

    Oh, and finally, KA (as you probably actually know?)…
    It’s “COULDN’T care less” NOT “could care less”.
    It seems that the latter (which is actually somewhat illogical) has entered a seeming majority of people’s lingo.
    Erm…”Just sayin’?”
    Here’s John Cleese’s humorous (if somewhat ‘anal’?) slap in the face at American’s frequent ‘faux pas':

  12. hogarm says:

    And another thing!!!
    Suppose some retard thinks the Holy Bible is the infallible word of a god; thinks it also contains predictions of the end of the world; thinks the Hollywood version of an “antichrist” is alive in reality and living somewhere in Eastern Europe, thinks the mythical god Jesus is going to return in reality and make it all better; thinks Ezekiel’s ranting about Gog and Magog are predictions of a real battle of Armageddon; thinks we can help this all along with our army in Iraq and Iran; and thinks this is all going to happen now.
    I cannot accuse all Christians of being so stupid and anti-American, but until they denounce Christian Nationalism, I have to assume they are.

  13. Sue Blue says:

    Yep, Perry loves Texas. Here’s yet another measure of how much: $650 million dollars collected from Texan utility rate-payers to help poor Texans pay their power bills is not being used for this. The GOP is allowing it to sit in an account, unused, so that they can make the state’s budget look good and keep their “no new taxes” pledge. While Perry and thousands of Christian idiots chanted and swayed in nippy temps in a huge, air-conditioned stadium, thousands if not millions of poor Texans were sweltering in triple-digit temperatures with their power turned off for lack of payment. Probably a lot of them are Christian, too, and their families are praying for relief and cheering Perry on even as they drop from heat stroke.

  14. ChuckA says:

    Perry, and a whole raft of other Teabagger GOPers; including a huge number of roosting Rethugs in the Federal Government = the “Peter Principle” gone totally bat-shit berserk!…drifting ever closer to an inevitable Black Hole “Event Horizon”…?
    Are we all, perhaps, permanently, and slavishly, stuck…along with them…in the completely wrong (totally fucked-up) version of a Matrix-like parallel dimension?
    “Hmmm…Blue or Red pill…
    Is…or was…there a choice?

    Sorry…I was just practicing some “String Theory” on my guitar! ;)

  15. Comala666 says:

    Loved, loved, loved, this post! If Perry trusts Rascal Yahweh and the Dead-Guy-On-A-Stick so much then WHY did he support fanatical, insane, intrusive measures by the Texas legislature aimed at forcing women seeking abortions in Texas to undergo a sonogram, VIEW a sonogram, wait 48 hours as well as stomach MANDATORY counseling??? In my dreams Perry brays: “It’s time to hand Planned Parenthood over to gawd and say, gawd yer gonna have to fix this abortion thingy.” Not even close ’cause biblegawd ain’t powerful ’nuff to handle our nether parts, our gynecological health, without the crazy-ass legislature so I’m guessing, deep down, it’s the Bearded Guy, His Brat and the Pigeon who need theocrats. President Perry??? I’d move back to Mexico. Wonderful post, I’m sharing it!

  16. Ms. D says:

    I’m so incredibly sick of rants such as Robert’s accusing me, and the others here, of trying to restrict other people’s faith expressions when the exact opposite is true. Governor Perry had every right to hold this prayer rally, but he did not have the right to do it at taxpayers’ expense, for any part of it. He also had no right to make this prayer rally the centerpiece of his solution to a problem that can be fixed with real-world, effective solutions. He has no right to declare that global climate change simply doesn’t exist, and that it isn’t responsible for much of his state’s plight right now. He has no right to ignore the fact that his state is a major contributor to the problem of global climate change, what with their sprawling suburbs, bigger is better car culture, and cattle ranching. The insistence that his faith is what will solve our issues is what disqualifies this particular lunatic from office, not that he has a faith that I, personally, disagree with.

    But “god” is the only entity that can impact the Earth, right? Us humans can wreak as much scientifically-proven devastation on the planet as we want and “god” will fix it all, unless we allow gay people to marry (the absence of such restricting the freedom of people who do not believe as you might), allow women out of the kitchen and/or delivery room (ditto), allow the use of birth control (double ditto), or demand that if others want to pray or otherwise express their religious freedom they not unwillingly force us to as well. We’re clearly pissing god off, and the only solution is forced adherence to one set of interpretations about how god wants us to live, believe, and express that belief. Hey, life kinda sucks in Texas right now, and I’m all for doing just about anything that makes people feel better in the face of that. But, as the leader of Texas, Perry has the responsibility to take actions that provide proven solutions to his constituents’ problems, not just pray away the drought and call it a day.

  17. Mark says:

    I was thinking about an interview I seen after the many tornados hit the southern part of our country just last spring. A husband and wife were thanking god for saving their home while on camera, calling it a miracle. As the camera zoomed out and panned the block, every other home was destroyed…I guess god did not like those people even though I’m sure, many were Christians. I guess those others would thank god for surviving…than what about the ones that were killed…I guess god loved them so much he took them away. They have an answer for everything, no matter how illogical.

    But the underlying common thought is that god helped “me”…it is always about them in the big picture as to why religion is so attractive to the many narcissistic personalities that follow it with blind faith.

    There is a reason that people like Perry cut funding to the public schools, to many critical thinkers come from that environment. So to break the public schools and push for vouchers that will be spent on privet religious schools, is a way to push religion on our youth with tax dollars from the nonbelievers…so much for separation of church and state.

    Also, if you get the chance watch the documentary about Pat Tillman that is airing on cable. An interesting segment is after all the politicians stumped their religious views at his funeral saying Pat was with god now, Pats younger brother jumps up on the stage and says, “Pat is fucken dead, and he wasn’t religious…he’s fucken dead!”. The documentary goes on to expose how the religious Bush Administration lied about how Pat died to promote their war…good Christians they are, and lying is ok to push your agenda since the little god voice in your head told you it is ok to do so.

  18. Stardust says:

    But the underlying common thought is that god helped “me”…it is always about them in the big picture as to why religion is so attractive to the many narcissistic personalities that follow it with blind faith.

    People would not follow any religion if there wasn’t anything in it for the “self”…or believed something in it for the self, anyway. We know here that it’s all wishful thinking and desire for something that can and will never be.

  19. As Jimmy Carr says about people who expect god to protect them during storms, “Who do you think sent the tornado?”

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