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Plenty of politics here, so how about some religion!?

As a spiritual buddhist at heart, I find myself very leery of organized religion and the legislation of actions between consenting adults.  With that said, I agree that a large percentage of Americans (US Citizens too) define the United States as a christian country.  Christian or otherwise, I consider freedom of religion and separation of church and state to be the single thing that has allowed our country to survive for more than 200 years.  What do I really mean by that?  Our legal system identifies morality, separate from religion.  This is what allows two people from differing religious viewpoints to be in the same courtroom.

In the US, many christians have felt the need to equate religion and morality.  The two are overlapping circles on a vin diagram at best though.  Many religions, christianity, judaism and islam especialy, commit incredible acts of oppression in the name of god, yet still feel the right to imply that I am not a moral being because I don’t embrace an organized religion.

When they equate religion and morality, people are abdicating their moral responsibilities to a “higher power”, or worse yet, to a religious entity.  Deaths and atrocities seem to follow.  I just read, “The Places in Between” about a trek from Herat to Kabul undertaken on foot by a single Scottish guy three months after 9/11.  One of the things that stands out the most is the death in the name of islam by people who haven’t ever read the Koran (it can’t really be translated out of Arabic) nor questioned it.

Morality is a complex and layered thing, and religion is about “faith”, often in impossible things (miracles).  Wonderful and Terrible things are and have been done in the name of gods, but few deeply moral solutions to human suffering seem to have come about.  Morality is about loading the scales of justice and using logic, while religion is about the aforementioned miracles and divine intervention.

In many cases, religion may be a great way to become a moral being, but religion and morality take opposing roads regularly (birth control comes to mind quickly as lack of birth control is a direct cause of overpopulation and death by hunger).  People are judged not by who and what they espouse to follow, but by the intentions and results of their actions.

So you can think of the US as a christian nation if it gives you comfort, and I’ll fight for your right to live that way.  But only with the assumption that you will fight for my right to view it as a secular government.  AND, I’ll fight for the right of anyone to have their own religion, as long as it never compels anyone else to join or live under it!


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