By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Glorious beautiful passionate sin.
How can we resist? Being but mere mortals, sin lurks everywhere and if we dare not be alert, we risk succumbing to temptation and falling into the abyss. Eternal damnation is our opponent. Lest we save ourselves now, flaming brimstone from the netherworld will forever lap at our buttocks.
The great moral dilemma of all time is how should be our response to our fellow earthly traveler as he may teeter at the edge of the abyss. Plenty are the suggestions passed on down through the ages. Testaments, both Old and New, the Koran are but some of the tomes upon which we reckless weak humans rely for guidance on how to protect ourselves and others. Saving the life and soul of another is among the great moral imperatives demanded by God.
In one of my many conversations with Christ, he tells of the time Ezra Pound was visiting a friend in Spain and one night Pound went to a party. Upon his return from the party to his friend’s home, Pound was asked who was at the party. Ezra said that there were communists and socialists and Christians and Marxists, and Separatists. Pound’s friend asked whether there were any fascists at the party. Pound allegedly said, “my good man, they were ALL fascists.”
When a good and honorable man finds a path to goodness and divine inspiration, he has but two choices. He can live his life according to his paradigm and serve as an example to others. If his ways are true and inspirational, others will follow him on his path of peace.
On the other hand, some good people who believe they have found he path to righteousness have such a compelling drive to save the rest of us, that rather than lead by example, they compel at the point of a gun. These are the folks who are convinced that they know better than you and demand you follow their ways in order to save your own self. By definition, this is fascist behavior.
Here in America, the minority few who ‘know the way’ to salvation and heaven have grown the loudest voices and over time, have passed laws which control our behavior and seek to assure our subservience to their Lord. However lofty seem their intentions, saving us from ourselves is their primary goal.
A truly Christian nation would have a world class school system, no man would go hungry or homeless, medical care would be denied to no one, and rather than being taxed to fund an apocalyptic venture in Iraq, we would be taxed for charity and to better the condition of our fellow man. Benevolent-but-Controlling Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and all other ‘isms’ would have their focus on helping their fellow man and guiding him toward St. Peter and the Rapture.
What has always mystified me is how these zealots always seem to focus their legislative muscle and the aim of their rifles on such issues as sex, drugs, gambling, sex, music, video games, sex, marriage, food, dress and clothing, hair, and tattoos. We have a patchwork of Blue Laws which attempt to keep our vices under control so that we may dedicate proper time to honoring the Lord by visiting His house instead of the neighbors to watch the NFL.
Last week, I found the answer to this great mystery. In a study conducted by Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Daniel M. Hungerman of the University of Notre Dame, an epiphany hit me in the face. Finally, I have a clearer understanding of why religious zealots feel the need to control my personal private behavior.
“Gruber and Hungerman found that when states eliminated blue laws, church attendance declined while drinking and drug use increased significantly among young adults. Even more striking, the biggest change in bad behavior mostly occurred among those who frequently attended religious services.” The study went on to conclude that,“Instead of going to church, many of the faithful apparently were going astray. Marijuana use increased by 11 percentage points among church attendees, compared with those who never went to services, after the shopping ban was lifted. Cocaine use increased by nearly 4 percentage points, and heavy drinking increased by about 5 1/2 percentage points among churchgoers compared with those who never went to services, with frequent attendees even more likely to go on benders.”
Now it all makes sense. Of those who feel their dogmatic paradigm of the world requires them to not only save themselves, but to also save you from eternal hell, apparently all they really are doing is passing laws not for our benefit, but for theirs. Because these same zealots cannot control THEIR behavior, the rest of the nation has to suffer. Something seems very wrong with this mindset.
There are ‘dry’ counties and States and many have laws against consumption or purchase of alcohol on Sundays. On its face, this law would seem to have some kind of social benefit. At its heart, if the above study is correct, these Blue Laws exist because it is the Bible Worshipers who argue they intend to save Your life … are really keeping themselves in check. Because they cannot control their drinking and manage to attend church, punishment is inflicted upon millions of Americans who can control their alcohol intake and can decide which, if any church, to attend.
One of the great arguments against Gay Marriage by these same saviors of mankind is that the Testaments forbid it and if it is legal, then what next … polygamy, incestuous marriages, interspecies marriage? Again, if the study is correct, the reason we have such religious laws on the books is because the Christians themselves cannot control behavior. If gay marriage were legal tomorrow, I would not be rushing to altar with Steve. Query though how many straight laced good church going Christians would run to their nearest goat and consummate their marriage if such laws were lifted.
Christian Zealot Republicans in Congress seem to be unable to control their gambling. Stashed inside a Defense Appropriation Bill, the Republican leadership inserted an Amendment that bans online gambling. Despite being legal for as long as it has, I have never been tempted to place a bet on the internet. Perhaps Bill Frist feels he can no longer control his behaviors and needs restrictive laws in place to keep him from giving up his rights to enter heaven.
This discussion and points and examples could go on ad infinitum. The bottom line goes back to the adage that because the baby cannot chew steak, all adults have to drink only milk. Here, the religious theory that obligates good Christians, Muslims and Jews to save humanity and bring us closer to their God is based on nothing more than their own lack of willpower.
Americans need sex. Our Privacy and Liberty are primary in our SECULAR society. We need drugs and alcohol because millions use them responsibly. Legalized and controlled gambling, prostitution, abortion, dietary habits, and porking the pig seem to be issues that the religious right cannot control in their own behavior.
For the rest of America, however, the time has come to separate the religious commands from secular society. It is time to free our People from the chains of religious extremist oppression. I refuse to surrender my liberty because you cannot manage to resist your own temptations.
Unless we take a stand now and run these Republican Christian Evangelical leaders out of town, the Christian paradigm will continue to slowly choke the life out of the American spirit. Theirs is a religion conceived on the basic principle that an innocent man should suffer and die for the sins of the guilty. For this reason, Christians have no hesitation passing laws that punish all the innocent because of the sins of the few. Wait until cold and flu season are upon us and you go try and buy over-the-counter medications. You are going to have to show identification and pharmacies will keep a record of what you buy and how much for at least two years.
As for me … should all the Christian teachings be true and their really is a heaven and a hell, I am confident that no matter which course eternity takes me, I shall be in the company of some very dear friends.