As long as the likes of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and the other radical evangelicals kept their religious opinions in church they could claim protection for their radical beliefs under freedom of religion. Although I believe what the founders had in mind was protection of the individual from the state in the form of a state imposed set of beliefs; not freedom from inquiry when those beliefs impact the rest of us.
But, as I’m doing my personal exploring I’m finding that religious beliefs have a profound impact on political beliefs. (Duh) We’re facing a mindset that is potentially explosive and I think the majority of us who are going to be affected and don’t share those beliefs have a right to force these people to bring those beliefs into the open, explain where they’re coming from, and not be allowed to hide behind the constitution. Or claim that they’re being unfairly targeted. Creation knows some of them do a wonderful job of picking on most of the rest of us. Robertson and Falwell have both blamed “gays, lesbians, witches, feminists. liberals, the ACLU, and for all I know, fluoride,” for what happened on September 11. The president claims God put him in the White House. I’d like to know why he believes he was singled out.
For most of us, the rising oceans, increased hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters are evidence of Global Warming. Something we need to work to control because our grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to have to live with the results. For certain religious factions they are evidence that the so-called “End Times” are upon us. We don’t have to worry because there won’t be another generation to live with results of our folly.
Most of us consider the war in Iraq ill-considered, ill-timed, probably illegal, and generally bad news all around. For some folks, it’s just the prelude to Armageddon.
For most of us, the rape of the natural world is a call to work to preserve what’s left of our environment. James Watt was quoted as saying that working to save the environment didn’t matter because God was going to replace it anyway.
The radical religious right is claiming that they have a right to be heard in the political arena. I’m all for that. But, by entering that arena they give up the right to claim that the rest of us don’t have the right to know what those beliefs are and to question their effect on the rest of us. Actually, they’re pretty open about what they believe. The rest of us have the responsibility to learn what those beliefs are, where they came from and be able to call them on it. Because we’re going to have to live or perhaps not live, with the results.