16 January 2009

Screw the Forefathers

I was just skulking around some of the atheist blogs I regularly read and, as is usually the case, the came across a handful of Christians, doing what they do. We all know their general MO. The Christian shtick that's annoyed me today--well, every time I see it, but I decided to blog about it today--is the ol' "This-is-a-Christian-Nation-something-about-Church-and-State-something-about-Freedom-of-Religion-NOT-Freedom -from-Religion-yadda-yadda-yadda.

I've decided, just now, that I don't give two shits about what our founding fathers meant. I really don't. And anyone should understand that these were all considerations taken--whether pro-Christian or pro-neutral--well over two centuries ago. There's a lot of going back and forth as to whether Jefferson was an atheist, or Lincoln, or if Madison was a Christian. Hey folks...who cares? They're dead.

Some will say that it matters because it's important how to know how to interpret the Constitution--that's how we figure out what can can and cannot legislate. Although it seems pretty clear in the first amendment that Christians want to ignore that part that says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and want to focus just on the "freedom of religion" (Not from! Not from!) part, why is it that we can't take it upon ourselves to say, hey, we're grown ups now? We can do whatever we want.

We, as enlightened people, should be able to look around us and say, hey, things have changed, and thankfully so. We should be able to examine our past, with its slavery, its oppression of women, and approach things like the possible ricin mailings to gay bars in Seattle, and say, no, wait, this is wrong. The bible says it's fine to own slaves, but we* said, no, it isn't. The bible makes women property, but we said, no, they aren't. The bible supposedly cracks down on homosexuals, and we are now slowly but surely coming to the understanding that this, too, is wrong. I know these crackpots are out there, but really, how many non-batshit "love the sinner but hate the sin" Christians who oppose giving gays their civil rights also oppose blacks being able to vote? Or marry *gasp* white folks, for that matter? Not too many. But even those progressive Christians will not understand (or should I say "refuse to") that extending rights to gays is the same thing, and if we Americans have rejected the views of our forefathers on blacks and women, why can't we do this for gays as well? And if we can do all of this--if we can reject "what they meant" when they said "free men" (read: white and absolutely not women), then why can't we also offer up out own interpretations of the first amendment on religion?

There is no logical reason we can't completely discard what the forefathers "meant," felt, thought about religion. It doesn't matter. We can very clearly see that, today, we live in a country with many faiths and also with many people of no faith. So, if it's clear that a more modern approach to these things is needed, and that since we've ignored the forefathers on these other issues, then we should be able to apply that to this issue, then it also becomes clear that the only reason we aren't doing that, is because Christians won't let us.

See, Christians, that you are very picky-choosy-fickle on what you want to say is right and wrong when it comes to our Constitution and our history, it becomes rather obvious that the only reason you waffle on these things is to retain what power you have left. Your "forefathers" argument becomes moot in the light of your not caring what the forefathers thought about some things and only applying it to the things that bother you today.

So, I say, it doesn't matter what they thought. We've progressed enough to not have to care--we should be able to just see what's right and what's fair and act accordingly. So long as Christians continue to grip violently to these "rights" in what are hopefully death throes, as if what was said or written 200 years ago is somehow set in stone when we have proven time and again that it is not, we are going to have problems.

*When I say "we," I mean us, as Americans, as a whole, despite grumblings from the throwbacks.