I'm really not against religion per se; I understand that some people are perfectly capable of holding a belief in a God or Supreme Being in their minds at the same time they believe in scientific facts and critical thinking, although I personally don't subscribe.
I also know that many of those who believe are good and kind and just and spend their lives fighting for equality and justice for all. I respect those people immensely. They believe in Jesus as an example for the way we should live our lives, not as some gatekeeper for the "saved."
Then there are what I call the Religious Fringe People. But according to Bill Moyers, and recent polling, they aren't so fringy anymore. These people, and there are millions of them, believe that the gates of Heaven will open for them once Armageddon comes calling on Earth.
(Read the Moyers account at http://www.alternet.org/envirohealth/20666/ and get chills)
They spend their time praying for this. They like to see ferment in the Holy Land, they support Israel, because they believe Israel's take over of the whole region will spur the second coming. Never mind that the poor Israelis they champion now will be smote down by plagues of locusts and boils if they don't convert before God calls his chosen few home.
Never mind if most of us poor suckers will be left behind in pestilence and hellfires on earth for all eternity.
Now, some of these folks are authentic right wing-nuts, who see all this as the granddaddy of all power grabs, while others are just plain old Joes and Jills of the Heartland, who have given up on a better life for themselves or their children on earth and look to the heavens for deliverance.
Who can blame them in a way? Everybody needs something to believe in. For some it's the stock index; for others it's the Rapture index, something that indicates how close we are to that moment when the saved will shed their earthly bodies (or is it just their clothes?) and ascend to the right hand of God the Almighty.
This is scary stuff. It's scary that so many believe it; it's scary that best selling novels are being written describing it (capitalism is alive and well among the religious classes, it seems); it's scary that it's fueling Presidential appointments and policies that are destroying the environment and making us enemies around the globe.
(One rapture theory, subscribed to be former Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, says that when the last tree falls, the ascension begins.)
Well, there's no more to say, except: Be afraid, be very afraid.
Today is Pearl Harbor Day, the day that separates World War II from this new adventure in Iraq. Follow the dots.... Read your history.
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Dotty still a Green Dog Democrat