Quantcast

«

»

Mar 05 2014

Taking Liberties: A Book We Need Right Now

So you may have noticed lately that the right-wing ratfuckers in state governments are busy trying to roll us back to the Dark Ages. Women aren’t people, they’re “hosts” to those precious babies that will be cherished so long as they’re in the womb; once they’re out, both host and infant will be despised as social parasites if they have the audacity to be unmarried and/or poor. Some jackass is trying to slip prayer into schools by forcing teachers to read congressional prayers. In my former home state of Arizona, the frothing fundies boiled over, and decided to give religious people the right to discriminate against gays, because apparently, refusing to let them patronize your business is an act of worship. Other states have jumped on that horrible bandwagon. And let’s not forget the Russia-envy they’ve got going on. They’ve got a stiffy for totalitarian shitlords who hate on the same groups they do.

Outraged? Good. Here’s a book that will help you channel that rage more productively: Robert Boston’s Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do.

Taking Liberties Cover

This is the sort of book you pointedly give to the fuckwads in your family who insist their religious beliefs and practices be made mandatory for everyone, because freedom. It won’t scare them away by mentioning atheists right up front, either.

Robert Boston’s thesis is simple: “Religion is not the problem. Fundamentalist religion that seeks to merge with political power and impose its dogma on the unwilling is the problem. I have a big one with anyone who considers the raw power of government an appropriate vehicle for evangelism.”

Preach it, Brother Boston!

We see that religious freedom at this country’s founding meant government out of religion, full stop. Baptists were especially keen to separate church from state, with no room left for declaring this a Christian nation. These fire-and-brimstone Baptists were all about freedom, genuine freedom, of religion – and that included Jews, Muslims, polytheists, and atheists. They were better men than the ones preaching hate in the name of religion from the Statehouse floor these days.

Robert shows how court cases placed certain restrictions on religious practice, of necessity: “You have the right to believe whatever you want, but… your ability to act on those beliefs may be subject to certain restrictions.” And he boils the balance between faith and freedom to this: “Does the private choice of another person prevent you from attending the house of worship of your choice? Does it stop you from joining your co-religionists in prayer and worship? Does it require you to bow before an alien god?” No? Then cease being an overbearing asshat.

He highlights church interference in health care, education, civil rights, and politics. “In this country where the right of conscience is precious, all religious groups have the right to be heard – but none have the right to be obeyed.” Can I get a hell yes?

Robert boils it down to a power grab. These churches want our money, and our obedience, and if we want to remain the secular nation that’s always been a beacon of religious and political freedom in the world, we need to remove the theocrats from power. We need to oppose their agenda. Our fellow Americans need to realize that religious freedom does not mean that the people with the theocratic ideals and barbaric notions about women, LGBTQ folk, sex, science, and education get to have everything their way. Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean what you’re doing is right. And those 18th century clerics would be the first to fight the merging of government and church.

This book goes a long way toward ensuring we have the awareness and ability to stop and reverse this trend toward theocracy.

4 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    rq

    This book goes a long way toward ensuring we have the awareness and ability to stop and reverse this trend toward theocracy.

    Time to make sure everybody reads it, then.
    It sounds a bit spooky, actually – the same kind of spooky as your ACE series. Like going down the rabbit hole: a window into how bad it really is.

    Just because you’re religious doesn’t mean what you’re doing is right.

    I think that’s the take-home message right there: I think some people perceive their religion as this great Mantle of Truth, that because RELIGION, suddenly all their opinions are correct, no matter what they are and they have no more need for self-examination because GOD has BLESSED them, and they pray to him, and that makes everything all fine and dandy. They conveniently forget about the part where they’re still human, and still perfectly capable of human mistakes and foibles and etc.
    Yeah, they’re still on this mortal coil, with all the fallibility that comes with it.

  2. 2
    Gregory in Seattle

    I have put the book on my Amazon “order soon” list. Thanks for the recommend!

  3. 3
    Codi Johnson

    I take issue with your pejorative in the first sentence. In no way does any rodent deserve such treatment.

  4. 4
    Scr... Archivist

    Codi Johnson @3,

    In no way does any rodent deserve such treatment.

    True. But it does tell you how reprehensible the legislators in question are.

Comments have been disabled.