3 Reasons I Disagree with Mike Huckabee

204x204-mike-huckabeeCirculating through the blogosphere and social media is Mike Huckabee’s response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He did not blame the shooting on guns, or attribute it to a crazed individual, but instead, blamed it on a lack of “God” in our society. An honest explication of his position is he feels America has gradually shifted away from a religious nation and into a more secular one. And as the teachings of God become less prevalent in our culture, our culture has become more violent.

A lot on the right have taken a liking to this line of thinking. It skirts the issue of gun control and advances the Evangelical agenda – one where religion has a larger role in the public sphere. But quite honestly, it is illogical and misguided.

First, it assumes religion, and particularly western religion, is the sole arbiter of what’s right and wrong. It assumes only God knows what’s moral, and without him, we are left with an amoral society. In his monologue, Huckabee cites the 10 Commandments, specifically the 6th; “thou shall not kill” as evidence that if only we followed Christianity more closely we would not have nearly as many murders. Do we really believe we need religion or God to know killing is wrong? Are we as a society reliant on God to tell us where our moral compasses should point? Or is it more plausible that religion just reiterates what we already know to be right or wrong. The 10 Commandments are pretty much commonsense (except for the 2nd – not sure why an all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing being deals with problems of jealousy, but that’s a separate issue). Removing religion from public facets of society isn’t depriving or dismantling our moral beliefs. We can have morals without religion.

Second, his argument assumes the more widespread God is in our society the more peaceful it will become. Let’s not forget, people have been killing in the name of God for centuries. Religion doesn’t promote peace, if anything it has caused senseless and unnecessary death. The teachings of religion may not promote killing, but the practice of religion has without a doubt prompted murder. 9/11 was killing in the name of God. Those who blow up abortion clinics are killing in the name of God. Hate crimes against gay and lesbians are violence in the name of God. Religion has the unique ability to instill hatred in people without any rational backing for that hate.

Third, Huckabee’s position is so American centric, it becomes illogical upon actual analysis. 15 of the 25 most deadly mass shootings occurred in America. (Finland came in a not-so-close second with 2 entries to that list.) Yet, America is by no means the most secular nation. Many European countries are far more secular with much greater populations of atheists, but they do not have anywhere near as many violent acts as we do. They do have stricter gun control laws though. It’s worth noting, the most violent region in the United States is the South, also referred to as the ‘Bible Belt.’

Instead of blaming too little religion, or not enough God as the problem;  let’s look at solutions that actually make sense e.g. banning assault weapons or increasing funding for mental health diseases.  I’m not condemning religion, or those who practice religion, but what Mike Huckabee is purporting is disconnected with reality. It is comments like his that slow the process of actual and meaningful legislation concerning gun control. By making gun control a non-issue, he is dismissing the actual issue at hand in order to appease the gun-wielding portion of his base and advance his agenda of making us a more Christian nation.


Should We Really Strive for a Religious Nation?

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Religion causes hate.  Without it we wouldn’t have the Israeli, Palestine conflict, nor would we have the Taliban nor would 9/11 have ever happened.  Throughout history religion has pitted people against one another. Many of America’s conflicts are driven by religion.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Without religion there would be no marriage debate.   The LGBT community has been denied basic human rights because religion has deemed it as yucky.   Gays have been cast as outsiders because religions’ holy books, sort-of, some-what vaguely denounce gay marriage. Simplistically put; Gays are less important because religion has decided to make it so.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

Our religious nation has put women’s health issues secondary to Catholic Church issues. Birth Control, which has been available since the 1950s, is being reconsidered because of our religious nation.  The women’s rights movement is going in reverse because of religion.

Should we really strive for a religious nation?

I am not here to denounce religion.  I am here to denounce those who believe one particular religion is essential to our country and to our government.  Religion does good things for people but it also leads to people holding incredibly strong beliefs, which are fortified by their god.  This is problematic for a society that allows for various faiths.  Religion does have a place in society, but it has no business in government.

Our Constitution believes this as did our founders.

So, should we really strive for a religious nation?

One Nation, Under some Creator, Who has no effect on our lives…

With Santorum now leading in multiple polls and his strong Christian beliefs I feel it is time to dispel one of the common myths that circulates within conservative circles: America was founded on Christian principles.  The fact is the country was not founded on Christian principles, but throughout the twentieth century Christianity has worked its way into our political system.  Some argue our currency says “In God We Trust” and our Pledge says “one nation under God” as proof that Christianity is a staple of our country.  The problem is  “under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge until 1954 and “In God We Trust” wasn’t added to currency until 1957.

Also, the Constitution , whom Republicans claim to strictly adhere to is void of any mention of God, Lord, Creator or Jesus. So the document on which our entire political and legal system is based lacks any reference to Christian principles.  It would seem if a country was truly born from Christian ideals then God would be mentioned somewhere in the country’s most important document.  Besides that, the Treaty of Tripoli, which was ratified by the Senate in 1797 says, “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on Christian religion”. Here we have, early in America’s history, Congress explicitly stating Christianity is not a part of the U.S. government.

Many times conservatives refer to the Declaration of Independence, which says, “We are endowed by our Creator” as proof that America is a Christian nation.  The problem is the Declaration of Independence, although an important document in our history has no bearing on our government or our political system.

Finally many of the founders, like Jefferson, were not Christians but Deists. Deism believes there is a creator but he has no affect on people and does not intervene with human affairs.  This is in stark contrast to the Christian God.  So not only do many of our founding documents make no mention of Christianity, many of our founders did not even consider themselves Christians.