Monday, February 14, 2011

Stabilizing A Democracy. (No, THIS One.)

Just a quick thought, really. I was reflecting on my most recent post, and I realized I'd missed something. We all want the best for Egypt now that it's taken the important first step of giving its dictator the heave-ho, and we're all keen on Islamicists such as those in the Muslim Brotherhood not taking over. In short, we want a secular Egypt. Well, fair enough, but in essence, what we therefore want is a strong separation between church and state in that country. (Or, mosque and state, as the case may be.)

Isn't the best way to help achieve this to lead by example, by strengthening the church/state barrier in this country?

It just seems odd to me that the same conservative interests who want religious leaders shut out of the process in a foreign country are so very keen on letting religious interests run rampant within our own. Of course, they don't see the hypocrisy of this because they're batting for Team Christianity. I, on the other hand, am batting for Team Freedom, and so don't want undue favoritism given to either Christianity here, or Islamism in Egypt. Or Iraq. Or even Iran, where protests against that regime have started up again recently.

In our country, we committed wholesale slaughter against the Indians because we saw ourselves as a kind of New Israel, conquering the savage Promised Land for God. And today? We have the Wisconsin National Guard being ordered out upon its own citizens just to balance a budget, while behind this smoke screen women's reproductive rights are being taken away wholesale. We dare Puritanically censor the supposedly free airwaves if four-letter words like the ones Dick Cheney bluntly used on the Senate floor ever get uttered, and even put monotheistic endorsements loudly proclaiming the falsehood of time-honored religions like Hinduism and Buddhism upon our very money.

In short, we're so afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood over there. What about the Christian Brotherhood over here?

Any religion which is frightened of playing on a level playing field with other creeds is a weak religion, incapable of standing on its own without clutching, haplessly, to the crutch of government support.

I say, let's kick the damned crutch out from under 'em!

Benjamin Franklin said it best:
"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
(From a letter written to Richard Price, October 1790.)

We Americans put dictators like Mubarek, Hussein, and the Iranian Shaw in power because we, in our immature and irresponsible use of democracy, put the Cold War ahead of the Pan Arabian good. It is therefore wrong to cast their nations as too immature for the democratic process. Like us, Egypt will have its problems, and its atrocities. But they will be their challenges to overcome. Not ours.

Let's hope we can do a better job of leading by example in the future.


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