Something is seriously wrong with America, and things are not going to get any better until we can figure out a way to shift to a new way of thinking or being.

I started blogging for this site last year because I really believe in the importance of a religious left to counter the religious right – or I should say the Christian Right because the religious left is interfaith and ecumenical, while the Christian Right is trying to pass off one rigid way of being Christian as the only way to be religious. I know I don’t need to illustrate that point, but consider Rick Santorum’s claim that President Obama supports an agenda that is antithetical to Christian values. Since when are caring for the poor, safe-guarding Creation, and thinking about the good of all G-d’s children not Christian values – or at least values that are compatible with Christianity? Santorum’s claim is just so outrageous.

And since when is being religious reducible to being opposed to contraception? Indeed, isn’t the Catholic Church the only religious group opposed to contraception? Protestantism doesn’t oppose it. Judaism doesn’t oppose it. Why is opposition to contraception now some sort of litmus test for religiosity? And if we are going to talk about the Founding – putting to the side for the moment that this country was actually founded on a separation of church and state – the Founders were not Catholic. Take note, Mr. Santorum!

I am not opposed to religion, even conservative religion. I am religiously conservative myself. But it is what I choose for myself, and it is myself that I govern. I have no right to impose my own beliefs on others. Nor do employers have any business imposing their religious beliefs on their employees, making medical decisions for their employees, or telling them what they can and cannot put in their bodies. Micromanaging another person’s healthcare decisions is not a religious freedom issue. (Of course, if we had single-payer health coverage, it wouldn’t be an issue at all.)

Of course this whole fracas about contraception and religious freedom is probably more motivated by politics than it is by principle. We seem to have arrived at a point in this country where people will do or say whatever it takes to advance their position – not for the sake of principle but simply to achieve power. The loss of Sen. Olympia Snowe highlights the extent to which our political system is broken. We are going to have nothing but grid-lock in Washington from now on – until something changes. And, sadly, the more nasty and divisive politics gets, the more balanced people will drop out, leaving decision-making to radicalized zealots — at least that is what is happening on the right. Where are the radical left-wing Democrats?

I wish I had a more optimistic way of ending this post. I wish I had a plan to transform America into a more caring society. With the vast majority of people in this country claiming to be religious, we should be doing better than we are. People shouldn’t be so selfish, grasping, mean-spirited, and punitive.

What is it going to take to repair the world?


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