Why Tolerate Religion?

There will be a seminar in DC on Saturday April 27 titled, Why Tolerate Religion? Good question, especially here in our highly-religious nation. The answer, naturally, is freedom of religion, but what about freedom from religion? For that reality, I ought to move to Norway or Sweden or, for the sake of language, Australia.

Yet, I’m stuck here in a city that devotes an entire section of the Saturday newspaper to religion. And it isn’t even in the Bible Belt. I can’t imagine living there.

Why Tolerate Religion? is the title of a book by author Brian Leiter a philosopher and legal scholar. He asks, Why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse?

Yet beyond the legalize, there are nearly daily examples of ‘religious persons’ fiddling around with our laws. Ohio legislators, for example, continue to fiddle around with laws grounded in their religious beliefs. Within the past two weeks, fundamentalist Christians forced the University of Toledo to abandon its support for abortion rights; another fundamentalist Christian is moving to ban teaching of birth control to Ohio high school students, to be replaced by abstinence education.

Fundamentalist lobbyists walk the halls of the Ohio Legislature promoting their religious agenda. And, with gerrymandering, our state legislature is packed with people who place their religious beliefs ahead of the common welfare of the state.  Pathetic.

The book and the seminar will be interesting but ineffective against the wide-spread and strong chokehold of the religious in our society. Yet in the past decade or so, the tide is turning ever-so slowly in the direction of the non-believer. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the religious will roll over. They will fight tooth and nail to preserve their privileged hold on our society.


14 thoughts on “Why Tolerate Religion?

    1. “Are religious toleration and religious freedom the same?
      Unfortunately UTF the answer is no. Freedom of religion is part of the First amendment obviously. The unfortunate part is that religious toleration is not. At least that’s the way I interpret the question.

  1. Speaking of Gerrymandering, M_R, did that initiative on having an alternative way of census reapportioning pass or fail in the Nov, 2012

  2. Then why can’t the religious zelots tolerate atheists or science? Why are school children being forced to attend mandatory creationist dinosaur fake science events in Kansas? This is really happening! I think it’s time for another Brain Police Creationist Anti-Science Fair! Kids, get your tin foil anti thinking caps on and get cracking on your projects! I’m getting Aldo, the official Creationist Mind Control Robot Mascot out of his storage locker and oiling him up!
    Some of our red white and blue ribbon winning projects from past years included:
    Proving that women are anatomically designed to be subservient to men and don’t deserve equal pay! Intelliigent design shows that they were designed to load washing machines and wash dishes and cook!
    Proof that Noah’s Ark was possible by seeing how many gerbils you can pack into into a small box and how long they can stay alive!

    This years big event will include putting a piece of carbon, assorted minerals and purified water into a sealed mason jar and leave it in the sunlight for a few weeks and pray that God doesn’t decide to spontaneously start life in there to mess up your experiment just to mess with your little minds!

    1. Of course, Microdot, we all know why religion and science don’t mix. The waves of scientific discovery lap at the foundation of the sandcastle in which the religious dwell.

  3. “Then why can’t the religious zelots tolerate atheists or science?”

    Isn’t your answer to the question, MD, included in your question? I refer
    to your use of the world “zealot”. A zealot cannot see any gray, but only
    black and white, and, of course, they are the white. They are fanatic
    believers in what ever cause they accept or believe in. A religious zealot is intolerant of other religions and opposing life style. If their religion says
    that the world was created in seven days, then it was seven days and not
    millionsor billions of years. Opposing religions and beiefs are a threat
    to their attaining the goal of their true religion. Atheists and scientists are
    a “clear and present danger”, so to speak, to them and have to be
    eliminated. There must be for the zealot total committment to the belief,
    whatever that belief happens to believe.

    This is what is seen in the GOP politically today. The reactionary zealots
    are purify the GOP of any moderate thinkers. The moderates are referred
    to as “the establishment” and have to be thrown out of the Party to make
    it safe for reactionary conservatism, namely, a small very limited
    government, no taxes, and no regulations. If any one in the Party
    disagrees with that, then they are to be “primaried”. They are
    devouring their own! And, the problem is, President Obama and his
    advisers don’t seem to recognize this and think that they can have a
    spirit of bipartisianship with a group of zealots.

    1. And, the problem is, President Obama and his
      advisers don’t seem to recognize this …

      I’m sure that they do, my friend, but they will ‘attempt’ to appear bipartisan to maintain the image with the independent voters.

      1. But, don’t you see that is the very sign of a weak President…Strong Presidents like FDR, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, and even George W. Bush
        would arm twist every Senator or Rep until they got majority. Obama is
        great on the speech making, but not on the follow through. He wants nothing to do with Congress. He thinks the speech making is the end, and
        not the means to the end. Maybe if we had a parlianentarian system that would be the case, but as the Lincoln movie demonstrated while Abe could give a good speech, he backed it up with buttonholing members of congress and granting favors here and there. And what does he care about the Independent votes since he will not ever face tneed them again?

    2. My wildest dream is to be labeled a “clear and present” danger to the religious zealots of the world. You have given me a grand goal to aim for, I know I have to work harder,and, I promise, I will, but perhaps, if I have a tombstone, it would be a very nice epitaph….”Microdot…a clear and present danger…and like a bad case of the shingles, he won’t go away”…….

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