7/19/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
American linguist Noam Chomsky once remarked,
“If you don’t believe in free speech for those you despise, then you don’t believe in free speech.”This would also apply to beliefs themselves. Do Christians really believe in freedoms of speech/religion, using this obvious common sense? I would reply with a resounding NO; that although the majority of them may profess tolerance, the difference is in degree. They all are intolerant, not only the extremists.
What do we mean when we say “religion?” Obviously, the word so often used as synonymous with morality is propaganda. One can and does have morality without religion, and vice versa. Nevertheless, in spite of their contradictions and multitudinous sects, religions hold themselves up as something we should all respect unquestioningly. But, really, why? None of them is based on provable facts, and faiths=superstitions. (Oh yes, it is that simple.) Why then should religions be entitled to special preferential exemptions from laws everyone must abide by, including tax exemptions? Why should any religions which gain power be permitted to persecute, imprison, even kill innocent people simply because those people have different opinions about the existence of the supernatural, and they don’t agree to lie about it? What insanity is this?
What can religion mean, when it means so many different things to so many different people? The American Heritage Dictionary defines “religion” as,
“(a.) belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator or governor of the universe; (b.) a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief.”Note that the word “belief” is what’s important here; not because the belief is true or not. (In fact, many arguments have been made defending beliefs as valid BECAUSE they cannot be proven to be true.) The logical and legal position ought to be that superstitions should be recognized for what they are, regardless of the intensity of personal emotional involvement or institutionalized back-up. Even if a nation’s legislators believe that the act of believing confers on them respect (and isn’t that the purpose of religions, to confer special privileges on their believers?) over anyone else who may believe very differently or not at all, and who are not afraid of reality?
Let’s put freedom of speech/religion to the test. Let’s play the same hand as the Dogma of Christianity deals out daily, even hourly, internationally. Satanism, according to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, qualifies as religion by virtue of beliefs in supernatural powers governing the universe. The Satanic Church also qualifies as an institutionalized system grounded in such a belief. In fact, many belief systems qualify as religions, with their beliefs in supernatural powers, including voodoo and the Wiccan religion. Pick and choose your own “supernatural reality” and call it reality. Millions have done so in every religion. Nothing HAS to be true/provable by evidence. Anything goes when it comes to the supernatural of the ghost worlds.
So here is a modest proposal, based on freedom of religion and freedom of speech: since the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of sectarian prayers opening public government assemblies, then clergymen from the Church of Satan ought to pray to the supernatural power of Satan to benefit the proceedings which follow. They have the legal right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, to do so. Supposedly, the reason for sectarian prayers, outside of the “tradition” argument, (don’t forget that slavery was tradition also) is to call for supernatural guidance and protection from harm. Interestingly, that tradition has been predominantly addressed to the Christian god. Guidance? Protection? Praying to Satan? Think about this though: Could any supernatural agent do more evil than a god who does NOT warn young men NOT to listen to the likes of G. W. Bush, who grotesquely and habitually deceived them into going to war in Iraq and dying because of his decisions? And wasn’t the same god involved who allowed the German people to be deceived, to the destruction of millions of lives?
Doesn’t it make sense for Christians in free countries to put their proverbial money where their mouth is? After the outrage of “permitting” these freedoms of speech/religion tapers off, wouldn’t we be expected to see the offended believers try to rationalize the Satan-clergyman’s prayer as “He’s only pretending. He doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.” If actions do speak louder than words, wouldn’t that reaction itself be just one more definition of religion?