Keep Your God Off My Country, Body and Earth

From: Dr. Glen Barry <gbarry@forests.org>

Dear Red State Cousin - Keep Your God Off My Country, Body and Earth

Earth Meanders //www.environmentalsustainability.info/

By Dr. Glen Barry

November 21, 2004

The following essay is a response to the recent American Presidential election, in which differences in moral values between the liberal "blue states" and conservative "red states" were widely perceived as decisive. I argue below in an imaginary letter to my "red state cousin" that environmental conservation is the ultimate moral issue, and insist that born again christians keep their god off my country, body and Earth.

Dear Red State Cousin,

I have read with interest your emails full of christian wit and patriotic passion. This must be a time of heady optimism for the far right faithful, as Christian crusaders are on a roll in America and throughout the world.

I thought it time to respond. Please forgive me for using this as an opportunity to clarify my own thoughts on god, the Earth, humanity's place in the universe and moral values in politics. And to take exception with christian extremism.

Firstly, let me state I do not believe in your god. I feel the passion of your belief in Christ and know this is so very important to your philosophical foundation and well-being. But not all share this believe, nor should we be required too. Diversity in all things is a virtue.

Religious self-righteousness, self-proclaimed omnipotence and blind self-assuredness are but a wee distance from nationalism, totalitarianism, and despotism. Instinctively I am leery of those who are certain in matters of faith. I note you and your president are so very sure of yourselves and your moral footing.

Oh that I could feel such sanctimonious certainty but once in my lifetime. Oh how I long to be sure of anything. The closest I have come is to be sure that we need the Earth to live. We come from the Earth, are nourished by her fruits, her waters slack our thirst, and her atmosphere constantly replenishes our lungs.

No human endeavor - be it economic, political, cultural, social, or religious - is possible without Mother Earth being healthy and stable. I can think of no more self-evident truth. I am also as certain as a human can be that religion indeed is the opiate of the masses, as conflicts over gays and prayer obscures the demise of humanity's habitat.

I would not deny anyone comfort found in acts of blind faith, but it should not free its practitioners from critical thinking. In turbulent and changing times, I would suggest decisions are best based upon scientific knowledge, humanism and ecological intuition. Not based upon what some Middle Eastern people may or may not have said and done two millennia ago.

Both muslim and christian fanatics want us to live based upon centuries old rules and an understanding of reality that no longer applies. Humanity desperately needs a new vision free of the dogmas of the past, and based upon concrete logical analysis of human and ecological necessity.

Religion should be a deeply personal experience, not something forced upon others. Too many people have died fighting for something that can never be known. My faith comes from knowing that the sun shines each day, that the seasons pass on schedule and that all types of life abound (however, the actions of your faithful president threaten the latter two).

I recently saw The Passion of The Christ. I would have been nice to see a bit more on Jesus' teachings, and a little less of him getting beaten up. In seeing Jesus' non-violence, I am at a loss to explain how much war and suffering has been and continues to be carried out in his name. I do not think Jesus would have bombed anybody, nor given tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

I would never presume to demand that you worship my God. But under our nation's laws I will insist that you not force me to worship yours - nor to live under laws based upon your religion's tenets.

Regarding moral values: how about a little consistency - do we stop caring about unborn children after their birth? Thousands of children die a day from bad water and hunger, where is the outrage? Many, many innocent children have died in our unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Is it moral that a few children have so much while most have so little?

Do you grasp the violence and un-ethicalness of grinding poverty and hopelessness which is the norm for most of the world's children?

One of the primary reasons I take exception to christianity is that the focus on the afterlife has, for some, become a reason not to be concerned about the condition of the Earth and all her peoples now. The demise of the Earth and the presence of grotesque poverty becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, as the faithful wait to be whisked off to paradise after their death.

Climate change, forest loss, water scarcity are all moral issues. All are various expressions of global ecological un-sustainability that threaten us all. People are dying from ecosystem collapse every day, and our species and many more are threatened with extinction.

The collapse of human civilization (such as it is) into barbarism and anarchy is a near certainty if the dominant culture - based largely upon christian traditions - continues to view rapid diminishment of the Earth's riches as a desirable norm. But if I accept Jesus as my savior, then everything is all right?

Yes I am a liberal, a free thinker, a bit of a bohemian, and a worshipper of the Earth. This is what I believe: there have been, are, and will be many prophets, a spiritual force that is good exists, and humans are on their own to live their worldly lives without divine interventions or a mystical afterlife. I find inspiration in christian values, as well as those of buddhism, islam and multitudes of pagan faiths based upon intimate knowledge of the Earth.

To presume that all human knowledge regarding what is and ought to be is tied to one rather insignificant messianic cult from way before the middle ages is dangerous and cult like thinking that will not meet the challenges of the coming millennia.

Further, I believe women are the only legitimate authority over their body. In a world rife with hate, loving relationships between adults should be supported wherever found. It is obscene that some have so much while most struggle to meet basic needs. The world will not long survive such gross economic imbalances.

Equity, justice and sustainability are universal values that must be embraced now for the world and our children to have a chance.

There are some people very angry with America - including those that terrorize innocent people. Such anger results from our opulence and arrogance, and we had best understand this fury is more than just islamic fundamentalism.

Personally, I would certainly fight to protect my family and our Earth, and perhaps even my country, but not for your or anyone else's god. Unilateral war = state sponsored terrorism, and while I feel pity for the plight of American soldiers (and their victims) overseas, there is little heroism in their brutal occupation.

Given our utter dependence upon the Earth for our every physical need, clearly we would be wise to realize that the Earth is the best representation of the father figure found throughout religious faiths.

I believe the Earth is alive and is godlike. We come from and are one with the Earth. Gaia heals our wounds, provides for our needs, and we return to her upon death.

I am writing to ask that you keep your God off my country, body and Earth.

May Gaia bless you and yours.

Informant: ItalysBadBoy


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November 2004

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