Monday, December 12, 2005

Not So Fast Christian Soldiers

So I caught a few minutes of Fox News this weekend and one of their pretty, young, blonde anchors was doing the obligatory “liberals are trying to kill Christmas” stories and this bright, young woman informed her viewers that more than 90% of the country is Christian. Hearing that certainly put the whole debate into its proper perspective. With almost the entire population of our country made up of Christians, it really doesn’t seem fair that a small minority of us Secularists are trying to restrict God from our public sphere and government entities. I guess we should all just suck it up and deal. It seems we should be okay with our children being taught intelligent design in school, taking an oath to God as well as our country and embrace the Ten Commandments as the replacement for the constitution in the dispensing of justice in our courts. Except for the fact that Fox News lies.

I did a little research of my own and surprise, surprise, it turns out that “more than 90%” is a bit of a stretch. According to The American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, although 79.8% of respondents self-identified as Christian, 40% of those that considered themselves religious did not identify with any organized Church. Also interesting is that the percentage of Christians, dropped 8.5% since 1990. It seems that Christian influence in government may be growing, but their ranks are shrinking.

The other important consideration is that religiosity is geographical as well. The percentage of regular churchgoers is much higher in the Bible Belt than anywhere else in the country, and Western states have the highest percentage of people who consider themselves non-religious.

While the religious right is using Fox News and other MSM outlets to sell the idea that Christianity is on the rise and that most Christians want more religion in government, the facts don’t bear that out. Self-identification as a Christian does not automatically translate into support for the Religious Right and the Republican Party. Consider that the African American community has the highest percentage of those who consider religion a “very important part” of their lives, and we know from polling data that their religiosity does not translate into support for Republican candidates. Also interesting is the connection between intellect and religious beliefs.

While many of the studies conducted in this country measuring the connection between IQ and religious beliefs are considered controversial, there is no denying that they often come to the same conclusion, the more educated a person is, the less likely he/she is to be religious. And not at all surprising is that the highest percentage of Atheists and Agnostics are found in the scientific community. An interesting study was released a few weeks ago that rated the top ten most literate cities in the country and Seattle was at the top of the list. It is also true that Washington State leads the country in percentage of people who consider themselves “non-religious”. Coincidence? Unlikely.

The Religious Right is driven by the Fundamentalists, who are a minority themselves among Christians, and while Fundamentalists tend to support the Republican Party, not all Evangelicals do. It is estimated that 40% of the US population consider themselves Evangelical, and of that group, approximately one-third supported Al Gore in 2000. Fundamentalists take a literal view of the Bible and they have been folded into the Republican Party with the help of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The MSM had a field day after the 2004 election, selling America on the idea that Bush won the election because the country had moved to the right and Evangelicals were the deciding factor. More accurately it was the literally “unbelievable” vote tallies in Ohio and Florida that won the election for Bush, facilitated by Fundamentalists, not Evangelicals.

The Fundamentalists are God’s soldiers who believe the ends justify the means and that a Christian Nation is what God demands before he will come back and rescue them. The fact that anyone believes in the Rapture is disturbing, but the fact that our President may be one himself, sends a chill up the collective spine of Secularists everywhere. With all of his talk of “Crusades” in the Middle-East and his divine belief that he is on a mission from God to bring Democracy to the world, let’s hope that the Fundamentalists are right and the Rapture is soon at hand and God will take them away, leaving the rest of us behind. Bring on the Rapture! Bon Voyage!


Blogger Apostate said...

I made my way to your blog via the Smirking Chimp (a regular haunt of mine). I believe I'll be spending quite some time enjoying your blog entries.

Good to know of another liberal in the area! Keep it up!


12:01 PM  
Anonymous Pete McCollough said...

This goes directly to the idea that we need to consolidate into issues we can argue and leave the rest to the side. Issues like abortion are completely arguable. We need to find the wedge issues we can use.

Gay marriage worked as a wedge issue because they can honestly say that most of the country is not in favor of it. They just say it's mucking the waters of marriage and don't talk about hating gays, because some of them are constituents for them. They put us on the defensive with these issues when if we spoke up we could put them on the defensive on issues of civil rights, free speech, propaganda, outsourcing, abortion rights, etc.

I don't get how we can never organize a charge until the battle is almost lost.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Ft Goff Soldier said...

Thanks for your blog. Got directed here by the Chimp. I live in the Bay Area, was just in Seattle via Amtrak. Thank God for the West Coast. Take care.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Looks like getting on Smirking Chimp was a real coup for you. That is where I saw your writing first as well. Your doin’ a heck of a job girl next doory.

Where does that Ft. Goff person get off? Thank God for the West coast indeed. Where were you when we were fighting the revolution to form a better union by separating church and state? If it wasn’t for the East coast you’d all be speaking…uhm…hmmm…Canadian? right now. Or maybe Latin.

But seriously, a little religion is a dangerous thing in my opinion. Just take a look at the last 2000 years. How many wars have been fought, and how many lives taken, over who’s God is the bigger God? People who shape their worldview based on faith instead of science, data, facts, and what their 5 senses tell them are delusional and dangerous.

The bible is not a text book per se. But I would agree that it could be used, even in public schools, in certain classes. For example, if there was a literature class that studied Aesop’s fables and The Brother’s Grimm fairy tales the bible would fit right in. Because that is what it is: Fables and fairy tales.

Evolution is despised by the right wing fundies because they know that sooner or later evolution is going to improve our species to the point where nobody but the criminally insane believes in that superstitious claptrap. But evolution is immutable. Trying to stop evolution is like trying to stop the tide from coming in.

4:57 PM  
Blogger CmdrSue said...

I'm also here via Smirking Chimp. Excellent essay. I followed your link to Wikipedia and saw that Unitarian Universalists are up 25.3%. w00t! If I were to ever join a church, it would have to be UU. I hear it's all about coffee and conversation.

Meanwhile do you think they just skipped to the end, subtracted out the 8.4% of "No Religion/Atheistic/Agostic" and just assumed that everyone else MUST be a Christian? I wonder. Or they got mixed up between "professing some sort of religion" over 90% and Christian.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous roberta kelly said...

LGND, congratulations!

I apologize for being out of the loop for awhile. Lots going on with a Chinese teacher of Qi Gong here in PDX and I've been assisting those who come to learn a Qi Gong practice.

Its one of those energy practices that all the Christians hate because its thousands of years older than any Judaeo-Christian religion.

Any religion that is man made is a superstition at best and obvious brainwashing for certain.

So, then why does anyone practice an energy discipline? After all, how did a Qi Gong or Tai Chi or any practice that "subtilizes" invisible energy, come about - man made?

I have no idea where the first energy practices evolved from. However, there are certain practices that are literally 9,500 years old. Also, there are actual manuscripts (scrolls) found in monasteries in the highest places in China, that have languages written on them and they cannot be deciphered because of the obscurity of the language.

Many of the energy discipline practices were also pictorially drawn in beautiful works of art.

This seems mystical enough to not be a man made superstition to control the minds of the masses.

And my favorite thing is that the Chinese who practice these mystical disciplines have long since left Communist China because they were forbidden to do the practices other than in a public place where the practitioner can be watched.

Simple, cultivate one's own energy and since everything is energy, the cultivation of chaotic energy into a more subtle frequency, creates more of an awareness of our oneness with all the energy in the universe.

There is only one god and it is all energy and so therefore the energy that is god is oneself and every other animate and inanimate object, too.

It demystifies the notion that there is any such thing as a big god who only a certain group of people know personally and this god gets to kill, torture, maim and so on, and furthermore, this is supposedly our loving father in heaven. No thanks. I pass on this insanity.

Quickly - I will say that Hugo Chavez visiting Iran in early 2006, discussing sharing a bank with Iran, once again drawing the line in the sand (play on words and pun intended), so the "Imperialist" USA cannot do what we're trying to do to Iran, is profound indeed!

The Wolfowitz, Perle, Rockefeller, Evangelicals, et al, have hopefully met their match in this saber rattling towards Iran. These people and their notion to have Israel be THE democracy in THE Middle East and Zion is King, once and for all, is bullshit.

Hugo Chavez has a website and he loves Americans. We should all be sending him emails and thank him for doing what our goddamn democratic party is supposed to be doing.

There was once a great grand Taoist Master who said: "Do it yourself and take the burden off God."

Thank this particular God for Hugo Chavez because he is doing what we all need to do and it is a practical drawing of the line in the sand, for these insane rapture zionists who think the Middle East is how the end times are to be hastened.

Thats the problem folks, we get to be the ones sacrificed because the rapture doesn't include all US who are not "born again."

7:43 AM  
Anonymous science geekstress said...

You guys are all very scary. This blog belongs in your aformentioned "let's study fables" course. If you ever get a chance, please take a real science course to educate yourselves that just because A and B occur simultaneously does not mean that A is the cause of B (IQ and religion). If that were the case then if I got more sleep my house would be cleaner, because my less than clean house and lack of sleep are occurring at the same time! And I bet this is true of a large percentage of Americans! Coincidence? Likely! While you're at it, try a course in evolution, and you'll see that it most certainly is not "immutable". Even Stephen J Gould, a leading Darwinian evolutionist, changed Charlie D's theory of "gradualism" into what he calls "punctuated equilibrium" in order to fit the most recent fossil records (or lack thereof). Just open up an updated high school textbook and you can read all about it. Scientific theories are contantly changing as we gather more and more info and as we make more and more technological advances in our research. Don't be so arrogant as to say Darwinism is somehow immune to change. We take the evidence that we are finding everyday and we see how we need to change our hypothesis accordingly. That's how the scientific method works. And there are people who shape their worldview on God AND science, data, facts, and their 5 senses, because if you believe in God, you believe He is the author of science, data, facts, 5 senses, and delusionality. I'm going to go read some fairy tales now...either that or go watch Fox News...Nice knowing you.

1:12 PM  

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