The Rat In Religion and Politics
Recently, an interesting article in the Washington Post entitled, "Why Christians Stick With Trump" by Hugh Hewitt highlighted how religion can be used as a convenient excuse by some, to justify bigotry or sexual discrimination. In addition, it pointed to the unique use of the term, "religious freedom," by current Trumpian Christians.
Coincidentally, I read this article after dealing with growing conflicts between my religion and my personal values. (Helped by disreputable politicians, flashing their religious zeal like show girls doing the Cancan.)
As someone who deeply values spirituality, I found myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable with my old allegiance to a religion that failed to meet my moral and ethical standards. In general, I observed a lack of boldness, courage, and conviction in speaking out on behalf of the oppressed, marginalized, or abused. It failed to confront the social mishandling of wealth and power. Instead, it lacked compassion, equality, and common sense; and justified persecution and discrimination against others. At least, that is what I unfortunately witnessed in my religion.
If religion served to spiritually enlighten and uplift, or brought greater compassion and harmony, then it would be fulfilling its purpose. Unfortunately, people carry religion into all sorts of situations where it does not belong, such as someone else's choice for a sexual partner, child-bearing decisions, or wedding cake orders. Some believe that God supports their intolerance, and it is their "religious freedom" to impose their values on others. This kind of backwards-speak redefines the essence of God and religion as fear and control.
Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, a rat by any other name would smell as raunchy. And the rat in religion and politics is the abuse of power that dulls our conscience and justifies the "us vs. them" mentality.
When religion or politics create disharmony, conflicts, or unjust discrimination, their negative influences undermine our ability to heal and thrive. Putting mental effort into ignoring/ denying/ suppressing/ processing wrongs done by these organizations wastes energy that could have been used to create well-being.
It is time we shed the notion that we can be healthy and hypocrites at the same time. The two are antithetical states of being. Nor is it possible to separate the sicknesses of society from the sicknesses of the mind. As Eric Fromm wrote in, "The Sane Society," insanity within a capitalistic society can be a socially driven disease. Living in integrity with our highest values, aligned with our divine nature, strengthens our connection to health and well-being, by restoring that which truly gratifies the soul.
Alice W. Lee, MD