Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Resisting Theocracy

One might think that a Buddhist would welcome theocracy. After all, wasn't Tibet a theocracy? In true essence, no. Buddhists don't recognize a god of any kind. Their deities are nothing more than enlightened humans, or sentient beings of some kind. There was nothing "divine" about the Buddhas enlightenment. Rather, "the Buddhas enlightenment was rather a human being's direct, exact, and comprehensive experience of the final nature and total structure of reality." So wrote Robert Thurman in Essential Tibetan Buddhism.

That makes Buddhism ultimately a humanistic endeavor. And the more one pursues it, the easier it is to see it. So in the end, a Buddhist wouldn't welcome a theocracy, as it subjugates the mind. And they particularly wouldn't welcome any theocracy that would silence the dharma, which a Christian or Islamic theocracy would do.

Yes, it's true. Christians are terribly intolerant. They love to hang onto the Ten Commandments, which states they won't have any idols before God, and they really want to make that the law of the land, as long as it doesn't apply to their worship of power and money. They want to make it the law for the masses, not the elite.

Anyone paying attention these days is aware of this struggle between church and state. The religious right are bent on making America Christian. They go so far as to make the claim that it once was, or was supposed to be. Even a high schooler's reading of the Constitution would refute that fact, and any history reader knows it as well. And by history I mean the writings of Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, Madison, and the other founding fathers. NOT the writings of present day revisionists who are doing their best to present false quotations, as self taught Christian "historian" David Barton has admitted doing, and the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools not only repeat, but practice themselves.

Thankfully, there are people paying attention. Two web sites post great information about the issue of the separation of church and state that I visit regularly. One is the official blog of Americans United For Separation of Church and State. The other is Talk2Action, which goes into a bit more depth of what the religious right is doing in presenting their altered message.

There has also been a host of books that have emerged. A good historical analysis is Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy, Michelle Goldberg's Kingdom Coming, Chris Hedges' American Fascists, and for some debate on the bigger issue of God or not, there is Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Sam Hill's Letter To A Christian Nation, and Christopher Hitchens' God is NOT Good. Hitchens' book appears to be more about how religion mucks up lives more than the question of God or not. It is brand new, and I am on the waiting list at the library. Bart Ehrman's books Misquoting Jesus is also a valuable resource for questioning the inerrancy of the Bible. Sam Hill also has a book titled The End of Faith, and I am on the library waiting list for that as well.

I do not believe the Christian version of reality. I think their very premise and beginning point is dubious. Their actions over the last couple decades have proved to me that my doubt is valid. And despite the fact I think that their religion, as well as any dogmatic, hierarchical, patriarchal religion is dangerous, under the Constitution of the United States of America, they have a right and the freedom to practice their religion. They do not have the right to subvert the Constitution as the law of the land, which many of them state is their goal. Which is the precise reason why they must be exposed, and stopped.

They have their rights and freedoms under our Constitution, and so do I.


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