Monday, January 16, 2006

Dear religious person: No, I DON'T respect your religious beliefs. Deal with it.


H. L. Mencken once said:

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.”

I bring this up since, on a regular basis, members of the devout drop in and accuse your humble scribe of being an anti-religious bigot, or something to that effect, and occasionally follow that up with a bizarre suggestion -- that I should learn how to be far more tolerant and, furthermore, that I should begin to "respect" their religious beliefs.

To which I can reply -- not bloody likely, and for a very simple reason. Consider, if you will, some standard definitions for the word "respect":

  • To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.

  • A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem.

  • The state of being regarded with honor or esteem.

  • Willingness to show consideration or appreciation.

I assume you can see the problem here. It's going to be awfully hard to "respect" your religious beliefs when I think they are a complete crock, isn't it? All is not lost, though.

I'm certainly prepared to accept that you have religious beliefs, and I'm absolutely ready to tolerate them, to the extent that they don't interfere with my life and, in general, piss me right off. But, please, can we just quit with the "You really should respect my religion" whining?

I don't respect it because I think it's hypocritical, superstitious twaddle. But as long as you keep it to yourself, I'm sure we'll get along just fine.

Do we finally understand one another?

COMING SOON: Yes, you really are an atheist. Deal with that, too.

AND THE FALLOUT BEGINS: Well, that wasn't long in coming, as commenter number one weighs in with a depressingly inane non sequitur:

You pontificate to no end about how religious people - particularly and almost exclusively Christians - MUST be more tolerant, but then you aren't willing to practice what you preach.

The commenter apparently saw fit to overlook an important qualifier in my post (emphasis added):

I'm certainly prepared to accept that you have religious beliefs, and I'm absolutely ready to tolerate them, to the extent that they don't interfere with my life and, in general, piss me right off.

In other words, I really don't care what your religious beliefs are, provided you just leave me alone. But it never happens that way, does it?

We have annoyingly devout Christians, demanding that their religious beliefs form the basis of government policy for the rest of us, in areas like marriage, abortion, public school science eduation and the like.

Clearly, for people like this, it's not enough that they have the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. Instead, for them, it's essential that all the rest of us have to conform to those beliefs as well. These are people for whom the phrase, "Thanks, but no thanks" just doesn't have any meaning.

So to anonymous, I can say simply -- we can get along just fine as long as you keep your religious beliefs to yourself and leave the rest of us the fuck alone. Can you do that?

UNINTENTIONAL HUMOUR, I'M SURE: If you need a quiet chuckle over how deluded some people are, check this out: The U.S. National Alliance Against Christian Discrimination. Because, as we all know, there's nothing like controlling the White House, Supreme Court, both houses of Congress, a good chunk of the traditional media and being entirely tax-free to really make you appreciate just how fucking hard your life is, is there?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Typical. "Tolerance" is just another meaningless buzzword to you, as it is to all liberals. You pontificate to no end about how religious people - particularly and almost exclusively Christians - MUST be more tolerant, but then you aren't willing to practice what you preach. I guess that makes you the real hypocrite here, CC.

M@ said...

I'm not sure how lack of respect for those beliefs is inconsistent with tolerance for them.

And as a Christian, anon, it must be tough -- so few in our society are tolerant of Christians. That's why you guys have to meet in secret and avoid openly expressing your beliefs.

Personally, I can't even find much respect for your reading comprehension skills. Unless you'd care to explain where CC called for religious people to be more tolerant, or where he showed intolerance for religious people.

Maybe your faith is so weak, you find it difficult to deal rationally with people who disagree with you. I admit, that must be tough.

Scotian said...

The main problem I have with the religious conservatives in both countries is their belief that tolerance of their Faith translates into the acceptance in the secular laws of our societies the premises/practices/beliefs of that Faith. That the only way that their Faith is considered tolerated is when it is the accepted law/practice of the land and no other Faith or lack of Faith has any say/involvement in how our society operates.

Christians have the right to congregate and worship within their churches as they see fit, as do Muslims, Jews, Aboriginals, Hindus, etc. That is what tolerance of religion in our society means, this idea that the it must mean more than that is in fact evidence of intolerance towards the other Faiths and those that do not believe in Faith/religion at all.

This attempt by the radical Christian conservatives to redefine our societies into de facto Christian theocracies while claiming only to be interested in having their Faith treated equally is nothing more than a naked attempt to place their religion as the compulsory standard by which we all must live. That is not democratic, it is not consistent with the rule of law, indeed it is a recipe for disaster. It is this sort of polarization that will destroy our societies, and not the various social rights issues like SSM and abortion, despite what the radical Christians would tell us.

They are dangerous, and Canada is in danger of finding out just how dangerous if the election comes out with a CPC majority government, which is now certainly possible. The fact that the CPC has gagged all their social conservative candidates from talking to the media is an ominous sign of things to come.

Grog said...

Remember, Freedom of Religion also means Freedom FROM Religion.

(No matter how badly the raving lunatics want to legislate otherwise)

CC said...

grog writes:

"Remember, Freedom of Religion also means Freedom FROM Religion."

Not if you're that sad excuse for a human being Elizabeth Dole who, at the last Republican National Convention, said:

"The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."

And that. in a nutshell, is the issue. For these people, it's not enough to have the freedom to worship any way they want.

No, they also want the freedom to inflict their religious beliefs on you, whether you want to hear them or not.

As I said, these are people who simply don't understand the meaning of, "Thanks, but I'm not interested."

Sort of like the first commenter above. He'd be a perfect example, wouldn't he?

Anonymous said...

Have to say that I agreed with what CC said and even more with scotian. YOU are free to practice YOUR religion. You ARE NOT FREE to shove it down my throat or make it the law of the land!!