Friday, November 11, 2005

God Damn!

I've really tried to steer clear of politics and religion on the blog lately -- personally, I know a lot of people out there have a range of views in these areas and even if I don't agree with them, I respect them, and I don't want to get sucked into the drama that often surrounds these issues.

Recently, however, a couple of things have just obliterated my restraint. A bit of background - the Dover, PA school board had instituted a new rule to add Intelligent Design to the high school curriculum, prompting a federal lawsuit. I'm not going to delve into the debate over whether Intelligent Design is appropriate in public schools - reasonable people can differ on that, I guess.

In this week's elections, eight of the school board membors supporting Intelligent Design went up for reelection and lost to candidates who prefered keeping an evolution-based curriculum. After the election, the so-called man of God Pat Robertson warned citizens that God would strike them down for voting the wrong way.

Robertson blasphemed, "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there."

Speaking of blaspheme, this sort of thing isn't limited to the U.S. Reverend Ame Tugawe, Secretary General of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, has made similar claims. Apparently while the Methodist Church in New Zealand has been permitted to have one anti-gay march, officials have refused another permit because they country's Human Rights Commission determined that a second march would cross the line into encouraging hate against the gay community. Tugawe told the Fiji Sun that the country should be prepared to suffer God's wrath if it does not permit the second march.

Now, I suppose I shouldn't expect too much out of Robertson, seeing as he advocated the assasination of the President of Venezuela last year... obviously Robertson has ventured off the deep end. Still, this goes beyond one self-righteous nutcase. Once again, it raises the question of the difference between the radical fundamentalism developing in the Christian world and the virulent fundamentalist Islam we have been taught is bad bad bad.

It seems that these types of statements could not be further from what I've always believed God is all about. Indeed, at their core, these are naked attempts to control others through fear. Not that I'm not used to that from any of a wide variety of people, its just that I'm tired of people sullying God's name to do it.


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