I recently read an article in the NY Times that mentioned how three American Evangelical Christians went to Uganda on a 3-day conference to discuss the “evil institution” that is “the gay movement” and its goal “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity”. These same three bigoted Americans are now shocked that a bill to give gays the death sentence is underway thanks to their message. Really? You preach fear mongering to a group that is ignorant of homosexuality and you don’t expect a violent reaction?!
This past week there was a less dramatic, but just as ridiculous, statement made by news-anchor Brit Hume regarding Tiger Woods’ religious background and how it’s hindering his ability for a full recovery. Unless of course he converts to Christianity where he can find the “forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith”.
Seriously? did the Christian faith stop Mark Sanford from cheating on his wife in Argentina and lying about it? Did it stop Larry Craig from “lewd conduct” in a men’s bathroom stall in an airport in MN? Did it stop Rev. Ted Haggard, formerly a leader of a mega church, from having sex with a gay prostitute and buying meth? Obviously the answers are no.
This is the biggest issue I have with religious institutions. They prey on the ignorant and rile them up with emotional triggers to control and manipulate them to act a certain way and do what they’re told to do without question. It’s unfortunate that there are many of them and it keeps on happening; despite the evidence to the contrary of how hypocritical these institutions are. One would think that after seeing the same thing happen repeatedly (these homophobic preachers getting caught in homosexual acts, etc), one might start to take the message of these religious institutions with a grain of salt.
People like to say that we need religion because it helps build our moral foundation. The truth of the matter is that our moral foundation is built into our DNA. By nature, we are social creatures and we know that our means of survival is together with a cohesive working society. Very few of us would be able to live outside of that scenario. How else did we create the civilizations you see before us? It wasn’t the religious institutions that made them. It was people.
The religious institutions just took ignorance and used it against the masses to mold the civilizations to their liking. Just look at the history (the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the Crusades etc). And with the advent of Science and medicine, when we were starting to get answers to the things that were mysteries to us (what caused plagues, why weather changes, what is the sun, what are stars, etc), the religious institutions tried to suppress it (i.e. Galileo living the rest of his life under house arrest). Institutions don’t want you to question their teachings. Just follow them. In 2010, are we still that naïve and ignorant that we cannot begin to doubt and question their doctrine?