Sunday, August 25, 2013

Are Christian Values Being Endangered? You Bet They Are!

Christian conservatives love to complain. But do they really have anything to complain about? The answer to that question is yes, they do.

They complain that this country is losing its once-strong focus on Christian values, that organized prayer has been kicked out of public schools, that atheists won't let them celebrate Christmas because they can't display their nativity scenes in the public square, nor can they post the Ten Commandments on public grounds.

They also complain that godless liberals are trying to remove any reference to God from our currency and from the Pledge of Allegiance. They complain that schools who teach all religions equally in social studies classes are following a liberal agenda that tries to teach students about heathen religions in place of the one on which this country was founded, Christianity. They fear that homosexuals are gaining respect, gaining rights and that gay marriage is actually becoming a thing. They worry about the loss of biblical values and the suppression of God's laws. And they are very concerned about the loss of young people from the fold, as more and more of them choose secular ideals over Christian values.

And all of the things they fear is happening is really happening. They are correct to be worried that their young congregants are leaving the church, because they are leaving in droves. They are correct to feel anguish that more Americans than ever before are choosing the "no religion" label. They are right to point out that guided prayer is not allowed in school anymore. They are rightfully concerned that their symbols of Christianity are being banned from public display all over the country. They are correct when they lament that the once-dreaded homosexuals, who, in the 1950s were vilified in TV public service announcements, are now accepted by the majority of Americans as upstanding citizens. And they are correct to assume that our system of laws are becoming less and less based on biblical morality (thus, the reduction in the number of blue laws).

What Christian fundamentalists fear is the breakdown of society due to the turning away of this country from God and the bible. And, although they are correct to fear that this country is beginning, slowly, to turn away from a reliance on biblical morality, they are wrong to fear society's breakdown because of it. Theirs is just one point of view among several, but the contrasting point of view is the one that I hold: That we should welcome with open arms the rejection of biblical morality. We should disregard any dictums made by the bible. We should ignore God completely when it comes to public policy. We should embrace the ideas of gay marriage and equality. We should embrace women's rights to make their own decision regarding reproduction, including abortion. The only morality we should legislate is the one code of conduct that says we should not do anything to restrict any citizen's right to do anything he or she pleases, as long as that does not also restrict someone else's rights to the same. Now, I understand there are certain things that should be regulated, especially with regard to business and industry. Unbridled capitalism does no one any good except the ultra-rich. Certain laws are needed solely to protect the public welfare and to redistribute wealth as necessary. And, of course, the government has to be paid through taxation. But mostly, the government should take a hands-off approach to personal and social choices.

The fear the Christian conservatives feel is warranted. They are a dying breed, even if they are dying slowly. I welcome the death of Christianity, even though it is not likely to die, or even become moribund, within my lifetime. Hopefully, my two children will be able to witness the demise of religion. But it explains why the fundamentalists are being so vocal and annoying these days. Their religion is in its death throes and all they can really do about it is whine and complain.

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