Friday, March 2, 2012

Religion & Politics

I do my best to keep my religious views to myself. Mostly because I simply don't have the stomach for religious debate. I'm an atheist. I was for a long time an Agnostic, in so much that I didn't know, or really care, one way or the other. However recent changes, recent shifts in the socio-political climate have forced me to re-evaluate my position.

I guess I don't have to be PC, so I'll be blunt. Religion is a disease. Not belief, not faith. Faith is a good thing, believing in something is a good thing. Religion is terrifying.

Years ago a group of fairly smart guys got together and decided to make a country. They decided to do something that was unprecedented at the time. They built a country on a foundation that the church, and the state, should be separate entities. They did not say that there could be no church, only that the government and the church should be wholly separate entities. Over the years this belief has grown, and has been interpreted to mean not just a freedom to practice any religion as you see fit, and to worship, within reason, where, and how you please but that you can be free from religion.

I'd like to stress that point, we as Americans have a constitutional right of freedom FROM religion. Yet in many places being an Atheist, or Agnostic is looked down upon, you're shunned, and reviled, for not believing in God. Furthermore, over the years the line between church and state has blurred. "Under God" entered the pledge of Allegiance. Prayer enter public school, "In god we trust" is on every bill printed. Presidential candidates stand and proclaim their religious fervor, and arrange photo opportunities in church on Sunday.

I have no issue with faith, belief, or the practice of your faith. I have an issue with religion, especially when religion influences politics. Once particular point that has been particularly troublesome for me in recent months is how religious belief is impacting modern medicine.

1) If a pharmacist doesn't believe in contraception he, or she, should not be able to refuse to dispense medicine to a patient with a valid prescription. If they do refuse they should be stripped of their license.

2) A doctor, should not lecture, or attempt to influence a patient based on his, or her, religious beliefs. If a woman comes to you for birth control, an abortion, or any family planning service you leave your religious views at the door. If you cannot then you shouldn't be a doctor. If a doctor attempts to influence a patient based on his or her religious views they should lose their license.

3) Any individual who attempts to mandate a doctors behavior based on their religious views is no more fit for politics then my dog.

I guess, in short, I'm tired of religion running politics, influencing medicine, and public policy. I'm tired of my country falling apart because we're too busy arguing about abortion, and birth control, as opposed to worrying about economic policy, poverty, warmongering, graft, theft, fraud, and a dozen other issues that have crippled this country yet they get no more then a soundbite sandwiched between Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News's latest "reporting".

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