In June of 2020, as he stood in front of St. John’s Church in Washington holding a Bible, Donald Trump was the very avatar of religion. He had the military tear-gas peaceful protesters to underscore his holiness. He was an absolute phony, but he perfectly represented anyone who ever used religion to gain advantage. The problem is that there is no substantive difference between Donald Trump at that moment and the sincerest preacher of any faith.
In the ocean of ink being spilled on the reversal of Roe v. Wade, I want to project this picture of Trump on a screen and drop the mic.
Here’s a thought experiment: What would the world be like if there was no religion, if every human being woke up one day five thousand years ago and said, “I’m not buying this superstitious bullshit anymore?”
Without religion, there would be no abortion rights controversy.
Without religion, no one would care whether you married someone of the same sex.
Without religion, Canadian First Nations could have raised their own children in peace.
The atrocities committed everywhere would not have happened: no women consigned to servitude because their children were born out of wedlock, no war to convert the heathens, no millions put to the sword, no riots over whether your make-believe deity is better than my make-believe deity.
Excuses for raping the environment? Religion.
Justification for the subjugation of women? Religion.
Sexual mutilation? Religion.
Burning books? Religion.
Religion is and always was the excuse for some men to manipulate the populace for wealth and power. It’s easy to make fun of the televangelists because their greed and manipulation are on full display for anyone to see. But let’s not forget people who were tortured and executed in Jesus’s name so that prelates could rule by terror, or places that were firebombed to show which mullahs had the most committed followers.
Despite the soft-focus, blissed-out, holy-kittens-with-ribbons PR campaigns, the story of faith is a story of unending blood and suffering.
To be religious is to claim to know truth. Once you know truth, you have the ends to justify any means.
Jews kill Muslims, Hindus kill Muslims, Muslims kill Jews and Hindus and Christians. Christians will kill anybody, even other Christians. It is an orgy of troglodyte superstition that always ends in riches and influence for a few and oppression for everyone else.
We shouldn’t persecute people for their beliefs, right? At least no more than we persecute people for believing the world is flat or that fairies are real or that there’s a mole in the federal government named Q. We don’t persecute people for being gullible (or just ignorant) but failing to do something about them has resulted in six people on the Supreme Court who believe in the Almighty, and they were confirmed by a party that encourages the highest levels of blind obedience (read, faith) and superstition. Instead of being laughed away, they are surging in power.
As we become a nation closer to god, we become less just and less compassionate. The more that faith guides us, the more tyrannical we become, and the more easily we are bent to the will of people who care nothing about us.
Roe v. Wade is just the beginning. Reproductive rights are just the beginning. When you believe that the universe must be governed by principles set down in a book, whether by one illiterate guy in a cave, or by dozens of guys barely more sophisticated than cavemen, the world is your oyster. No one ever went broke betting on the stupidity of the American public, or, as PT Barnum used to say, there’s a sucker born every minute. America happens to be coming along at the right time.
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