Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Problem is Politics

Is anyone else tired of politics? Has anyone else noticed that most politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are more concerned about being reelected than they are about doing what is right for their constituents and our country? Has anyone else noticed that many politicians attempt to use religion and personal beliefs about god to placate troubled citizens while they do next to nothing to solve the issues that got us to where we are now? Has anyone noticed that politicians frequently say one thing, and then do the exact opposite? I, for one, am tired of politics and politicians.

Our infrastructure is crumbling, schools are being closed down and teachers laid off, police, EMS and firefighters are losing their jobs, and medical benefits to the elderly and destitute are at risk of being slashed. All the while, corporations and banks are being given vast amounts of leeway and assistance when they were the entities that recklessly contributed to our national troubles. Our politicians spend entirely too much time on issues like abortion and gay marriage, as if those are really the important issues. We have politicians, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, holding divisive Christian prayer events claiming that prayer to Jesus is the only way we are going to get out of the mess we are in. While I don't agree with everything Bill Maher says, he hit it right on the head last week when he said, "May I point out that there is no such thing as 'spiritual' solutions to national problems. If our official government policy is 'Yeehaw, Jesus take the wheel!', then we're dead already." Governing officials should not be relying on prayer to solve our problems and instead should focus on making the difficult, real, and often unpopular, decisions that may actually accomplish something.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry's Solution to our Troubles: Get on Your Knees

The Response Promo from The Response USA on Vimeo.

"Right now, America is in crisis: we have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together and call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles, and thank Him for the blessings of freedom we so richly enjoy." - Texas Gov. Rick Perry

This does not sound like someone who has any idea how to deal with the issues facing the United States today. It seems like Gov. Perry is taking the easy road and asking people, himself included, to forgo actually thinking critically about real-world solutions and instead ask for supernatural intervention. In other words, he apparently feels that by taking advantage of some of his constituent's religious beliefs he can appear to be making an effort to solve the dilemma while not actually doing anything substantive. He added that "there is hope for America... and we will find it on our knees." This is troubling on multiple levels.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The U.S. Military is not "God's" Army

I recently read an article posted on the "Rock Beyond Belief" website about an email the website's founder received from an Army Captain. In the email he spoke of the dangers of speaking out against discrimination against non-theists in the military. The email provided examples of just how dangerous it can be for non-theists to push for equality in the military, both personally and for their career. Please take a moment to read this short article: http://rockbeyondbelief.com/2011/06/02/brave-army-captain-on-the-dangers-of-fighting-proselytism/

While I was in the Marines I too was subjected to blatantly religious events. It is while you are at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) that you affirm your allegiance to the United States by swearing/affirming to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. At the end of this affirmation, you are supposed to be provided the opportunity to leave out the "So help me God" part, and I was allowed that right. However, apparently that is not always the case. Perhaps it was because I was being processed in Washington State, which is a more liberal, and not it Alabama or Oklahoma that I did not experience any backlash for leaving out the "So help me god" part. The point is that many non-theists are expected to, right at the beginning of their service, ask for the help of a deity in carrying out their mission to defend the Constitution of the United States. This may seem trivial, but imagine you are a Christian who is asked to say the words "Insha'Allah," or even "So help me Zeus" at the end of your affirmation. Christians do not believe in the god of the Muslims, or the Prophet Muhammad, nor do they believe in the Greek god Zeus. This would surely not be allowed to happen and there would be tremendous uproar from Christians throughout the United States if it were to happen. If non-theists are expected to say the words "So help me god" at the end of their affirmation though? Who cares, right?