Hate in the Name of God (Warning: I’m ranting)

“I live in West Hollywood, CA and the Gay Pride parade is going on beneath my window. A man with a microphone is yelling continuously about the sin of homosexuality, saying God hates gays, they’ll burn in hell and so forth. People are simply singing in response. Stand strong, gay friends. May angels cover your ears and God give comfort to your heart. God loves us all with an inestimable love. Falsity and lies cannot touch you.”

This was posted this morning as the status on a Facebook page I follow. The poster was observing a scene outside her window. This is a vivid illustration of one thing I absolutely abhor about religion, and an illustration of one big reason I have completely rejected religion in all of its destructive and evil forms. I can’t stand the misogynistic and hate-filled spew that many religious people put out. Even more, I can’t stand their apologists within the wider mainstream society who try to excuse their religion from its complicity in the promulgation of this hate.

While I would never advocate the forced abolition of religion (I believe everyone has the right to their own path), I would not mourn its demise. In fact, I would celebrate it. I feel that organized religion throughout the centuries has wrought copious amounts of evil and suffering for which it has never been truly held to account. I find it difficult to find anything good about it, in fact. While I respect everyone’s unfettered right to their own beliefs, so long as they do not infringe on the lives of others, I do NOT feel that I must respect those beliefs and hold back from criticizing them.

What really bothers me is the free pass that religion gets so often when it is behind some truly abhorrent acts. All too often, religions freedom (especially in the United States) trumps all else, and it exempts people from criminal responsibility for acts that would otherwise garner a well-deserved conviction of at least neglect, if not manslaughter or second-degree murder. I’m talking about religions exemptions for parents who neglect to get needed medical care for their children because they are “treating” them via “spiritual means” according to the “tenets” of a “recognized religious denomination” or are under the care of a “practitioner” thereof. Due to this, children in faith healing homes die horrible painful deaths from commonly and easily treated medical conditions.

I ask where the drumbeat of international condemnation is for Islamic countries that unfairly degrade women in the name of Islam: in Mauritius a rape victim was sentenced to 100 lashes for “adultery”–because she had sex with a man she was not married to. What the fuck? She was fucking raped! This is religion folks. I am sick to death of apologists who say that it is the individuals who do this. That may be true, but they were acting on their religious faith, and on that basis their faith, Islam, is equally to blame for this gross act of misogyny. There are many other examples such as this in Islamic countries–women in Saudi Arabia cannot drive, and can’t leave the home without a male chaperone. I blame Islam for this. People and governments are acting according to their religious beliefs and convictions.

It is time, I believe, for religion to be held to account for the strife and suffering it has caused throughout the centuries, and continues to cause. No more free passes. If your child dies or suffers because your religion says you can’t or shouldn’t see a doctor, no exemptions in law from responsibility for the child’s suffering–face the music. If, for instance, as Christian Scientists claim, their system of spiritual care works, then why do you need these exemptions? Put your money where your mouth is. And, if your religion represses people because they’re women, it deserves to be tossed away into the crap pile of history.

It’s also high time that ALL tax exemptions for religious organizations be abolished, and tax-deductions for donations to religious organizations be eliminated. These organizations use and benefit from services provided at the expense of my tax dollars, and I do not wish to subsidize them anymore. It’s time for religion to pay up and quit the free ride.

I know that apologists for religion will tell me that this is not true “Christianity” or true “Islam” or whatever; that these people are acting on their own extreme motivations and interpretations. Bullshit! They’re motivated by their religion. Their religion is a full accomplice in their hateful spew, and malicious actions.

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