Life without religion: A pipe nightmare
This political season clearly demonstrates that people are angry. It is a kind of “free floating anger” that hovers out there like a dark cloud upon the future. I have been watching the debates on both sides of the political spectrum and see that the cloud is the evaporative stuff distilled from the economy, and a kind of anxiety concerning our struggles among the world’s community of nations, the future of our nation’s security, the hemorrhaging of our borders and a variety of other issues that have made us into a nation of nervous ninnies waiting for the dark cloud to begin raining havoc on our spoiled society.
All of this is an external manifestation of the internal nervousness in America based upon a true lack of trust in governmental authority. That lack of trust is rooted in the fact that governmental authority is based upon human propensities to be, in the end, self-serving. The illusive concept of the “separation of church and state” has bullied and cut the roots of freedom which are grounded in a kind of truth written into our hearts. The “separation of church and state” has devolved into the separation of culture and conscience which has given birth to the development of a societal norm that says political power and decision making has nothing to do with morality. At its worst, this concept has given rise to the killing of the unborn, the acceptance of publicly unacceptable behavior among politicians on both sides.
Some might say that religion and morality is cause for us to be “judgmental.” Well, judgement presumes the existence of law. Laws written down by man in the context of politically defined boundaries presume an underlying conscience. And existentially, the concept of conscience makes no sense without a kind of built in moral compass, laws written in our hearts if you will, a DNA key to what is good and what is evil.
My point is that we have segmented our political issues and concerns. We have prioritized them so that there is an ordered list of the most important societal concerns bottoming out at the lowest — the things that are worth bargaining for or bargaining away. The elected officials are only reflections of ourselves so that they too have their lists and the lower elements of that list are expendable in the quest to achieve their own priorities.
The problem that I have eluded to thus far is that most of the time the sequestering of religion from the decision equation has rendered us a list that invariably has the moral issues at the bottom. We saw this as Congress, and a Republican one at that, left on Christmas recess after approving a host of bills one of which was the approval for continuation of the funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s abortion mill. In other words, they threw in the towel not wanting a government shutdown because of the inconvenience to them in that it would keep them from going home and enjoying the Christmas Holiday. They saw the funding of abortion as a “political chip” in the card game of issues all of which to some degree are expendable, even those with moral consequences. But of course if you separate morality and the existential moral compass from the process of influencing the decisions of other people, it is likely that the sterilized choices of those people will in fact be immoral.
The problem with that is history has shown that a society devoid of the moral compass will eventually itself devolve into a society of immoral decisions made in a context of a pseudo freedom that will invariably result in the end of that society. What is the color of your morality? You cannot have a true “black lives matter” movement, or a “freedom for all movement,” or a “just society” movement without knowing that “moral lives” matter more than any. They are the lives that are the bastion of true freedom from a world of chaos, hatred, greed, inequality and ultimately war. In the end, the key to true peace is the influence of morality, conscience and its bearer, religion, on society. Society without religion is a utopian manmade pipe nightmare.
Rev. Mr. Tom Baca