Americans Leaving Religion In Droves

Samantha Bee explains the marriage of evangelicals and the extreme right. This is in 2 parts. The second part is below. This part is 10 minutes.

This is not news to anyone who spends time on the internet. The Pew organization does a periodic survey on American views on many things including their views toward religion.

This is a very encouraging trend in America. From the days that Columbus landed in Hispaniola, religion has been used to justify everything from the mass slaughter of Native Americans to the keeping of slaves to the current day practices of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich through laws enacted by a well paid corporate congress.

Pew followed up that survey with a study to make some sense out of why what had been a moderate trend had turned into a flood. You can view the reasons at the link. One paragraph seems to capture an essence that doesn’t seem to be followed up on:

“But there are other reasons people give for leaving behind their childhood religion. One-in-five express an opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.”

However this only seems to touch on what seems to be an unexplored underlying reason: religious involvement in our secular political lives that have imposed misshapen religious beliefs as laws that discriminate, deny healthcare or otherwise marginalize humans because a person’s lifestyle does not line up with religion’s concept of acceptable human behavior.

In this country Christianity has been the prevailing religion since the inception of the US. Thus much of the religious involvement in politics has been in solidifying Christianity’s position. Much as any business lobbies for laws that give them an edge.

But what may be even more obscene and obnoxious to the millions leaving religion is the way politicians manipulate the religious to support positions that are or at least should be in direct opposition to the teachings of their religion. This is done almost exclusively by the Republican Party. A great example of this is simply the maneuvering the Republican Party did to have religious leaders endorse for president a man who was thrice married, openly cheated on his wives, openly cheated his customers, openly cheated his workers or vendors, openly told easily disputed lies at every turn, discriminated based on religion and skin color, mocked the disabled and in the past treated religion with scorn.

Yet the lust for power by religious leaders in this country that they not only willingly, but enthusiastically endorsed this anti-religious bigot because they believed they would get a seat in shaping policy that would be favorable to their prejudices and beliefs.

When it comes to smell tests this one stinks to – dare I say it – high heaven. Formerly religious members, especially younger ones can’t stand the smell. Discrimination as endorsed by church leaders especially reeks to them as our country becomes more and more of a melting pot. The Travel Ban for Muslims from certain countries while Christians were exempt from the ban was an especially grievous example of religious discrimination to many.

The extreme right wing Republican Party manipulated the evangelical Christians years ago to sign up as endorsees and fellow players in the hate and fear campaign of the Republican Party. Religious leaders did so to enhance their earthly power. Then played their congregations as fools as they endorsed laws that were in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings.

The other factor in the awakening of our populace – especially the young – to the scam of Christianity mixing with the radical Republican Party is the internet.
Christianity mixing in politics in this country is as old as the country. However it hasn’t been quite so open because the news media of the day seldom covered this marriage until something happened that couldn’t be ignored or covered up.

Being negative to religion, especially to Christians or in some concentrated areas of Catholicism, Catholics, could cause a newspaper or magazine to endure a boycott that could sink them. Not only was the publication itself endangered when taking on religion, advertisers could be caught up in the battle and could be a casualty if seen as endorsing an attack on religion. Thus better not to do it.

So most bad news concerning religion was simply not covered. One only need look at the cover ups concerning the Catholic Church and the pedophile scandal. If you have seen the movie “Spotlight” you get a feeling for the power of the Catholic Church in Boston.

An open and neutral internet has allowed the dissemination of information through forums and social media and person to person. The days of powerful religions controlling information at present no longer exists. This is one reason why net neutrality is so important.

If you look at cable TV there are hundreds of religious stations and conservative news outlets that report on religions the old way. There is no non-religious or atheist programming. On the neutral internet, access to information is currently unimpeded. Therefore if you would like to see atheists discussing religious doctrine it is easily accessible on the internet.

Humans are instinctively curious. They want to know how things got the way they are. When they are able to search and find on their own about the mix of religion and politics the reaction is usually repulsion. May we keep the internet open.

Here is part two of Samantha Bee’s presentation on the marriage of evangelicals and the extreme right wing Republican Party. (7 minutes and very funny)

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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