Monday, December 11, 2006

Brainwashed in the Blood of the Lamb

The Friendly Atheist has improved a chart from Newhouse News Service, showing the religious affiliations of the members of Congress. The list includes Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Unaffiliateds, but it’s mostly made up—as you probably guessed—of followers separating themselves into umpteen Christian sects. I’ll wait here while you look over the FA's great work.

The question is: what criteria have our elected representatives used to choose their particular religious paths? The answer in most cases, I suspect, is the accident of birth.

But Richard Dawkins, the current darling of atheists, delights in pointing out that there’s clearly no such thing as a Christian child, or a Jewish child, or a Muslim child, etc.. Children are not competent to profess belief in a worldview that favors any particular system of religiosity. Hence, there are only children of Christian parents, Jewish parents, Muslim parents, and parents indoctrinating their offspring into any of the other myriad superstitions now plaguing the Earth.

In other words, chances are good that most of our congresspriests learned what their religious affiliations were well before they had the intellectual wherewithal—and, let’s face it, many of them will never have it—to think about their chosen beliefs. They were brainwashed, conditioned to salivate at the mere mention of certain magic words like “Jesus,” “Adonai,” or “Allah;” as adults, they continue to drool. Unfortunately, their slobber permeates the pages of the country’s law books.

It might be instructive—or at least fun—if someone could get our politicians to take a few minutes off from their pious dribbling to answer the following brief questionnaire:
1. What would you say is the central “message” that defines your specific religious sect?
2. Would you articulate two or three differences between your selected religion and some of the others listed on the chart?
3. What advantages do you think your colleagues reap by practicing their religions instead of yours?
4. Still, why do you think your religion is the best?
5. If you don’t think it’s the best, why don’t you convert?
6. If you don’t think it would make any difference whether you converted or not, why do you bother to list a religious affiliation at all?
7. Where do you find evidence in the Constitution that the government should prefer your particular sect to any of the others, or to none?

That last question is a ringer: it can’t be answered by any words other than “nowhere.”

My proposal: Only those elected officials who could respond spontaneously and publicly to the questionnaire, without prompting or preparation, should ever be allowed to mention religion, directly or circuitously, in Congress again.

The result would be far from perfect, but it might get some of the holy mouth-water off those law pages.