October 31, 2012

Prayers for Romney

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the first amendment grants a freedom of religion that was once unparalleled by the former rulers of the American colonies. That being said, the ideal has not lived up to its full potential. The United States remains a “nation under God” in which politicians, both left and right, swear to uphold the words of God while executing quotidian affairs. This system’s inherent flaw rests in the assumption that all of America is God-fearing. Oaths are taken by our nation’s professionals to evoke a sense of commitment to a duty by making a deal with divinity. For example, the Hippocratic Oath requires new physicians to swear to uphold certain values of medicine. The tradition is rooted in a Greek ceremony that highlighted the importance of divine influence on professionals. Ironically, Bill Maher’s satirical documentary, Religulous, indicates that an overwhelming majority of contemporary physicians and scientists identifies as atheist or agnostic. It seems as if the first amendment should include an asterisk with a footnoted clause that reads, “so long as that religion is theistic”.

The current political spectrum conveys varying attitudes towards religion. Since the right wing tends to uphold more fundamentalist, biblically rooted values, God is often exploited as a weapon in the argument for a conservative cause. As the presidential election approaches, my LGBTQ peers have expressed outrage towards Romney’s adamant plans for same-sex couples indicating that a vote for Romney, though arguably economically appealing (not necessarily my own opinion), is a sacrifice of civil rights, especially for the LGBTQ community. Right wing extremism has resolved that God’s word shall prevail over the civil rights struggle of the homosexual community seeking same-sex marriage rights because of certain biblical passages. 16% of Americans (millions of people, myself included) do not identify with religion, so why is God an acceptable source in the argument for civil rights? The scientific community only values evidence-based claims, and the fact of the matter is that evidence has eternally degraded faith. After all, you wouldn’t use Harry Potter to support a political argument. What makes the Bible different? I just hope that American lawmakers and politicians will keep in mind that freedom OF religion should also entail freedom FROM religion.

2 comments:

  1. So, I've definitely seen someone use Harry Potter in a political/social argument. It was very compelling... just saying.

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  2. You had me going along with about 3/4 of your post, but by the last 1/4 you lost me. I don't think it's fair to say that evidence has "eternally degraded" faith. First, your apparent faith in "evidence" would speak to the contrary. What thing outside of evidence supports your claim in favor of evidence? It would seem that you take it on faith that evidence is superior to...whatever else you're saying does not count as evidence. Most Christians would claim the Bible is, in fact, "evidence." So how are you defining "evidence" so that it necessarily excludes Biblical passage? And what's your evidence for that definition?

    Second, there is quite a bit of scientific evidence that we can't actually trust our interpretation of data. "Evidence" without human interpretation is merely raw numbers, which is pretty much useless for our purposes. There is data that affirmation bias plagues our perception and interpretation, and feminists have criticized our interpretation and dissemination of something as basic as the basic reproduction story of sperm and egg as rooted in patriarchal world-views.

    Finally, you support your claim against, by saying that the "scientific community only values evidence claims. However, I'm wary about demanding scientific evidence in a civil rights debate. What's your scientific evidence that we have "civil rights" at all? What's your scientific evidence for gay marriage? Is there a scientific study that has as its conclusion: "from the data, we see gay marriage?" Ethical and legal claims simply fall outside the scope of scientific inquiry. Scientists seek answers to how our universal works, not which laws "should" or "should not" be passed.

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