There truly is very little new under the sun when it comes to politics, religion and how they work hand in hand with the rich and powerful to oppress the many.
Marx described religion as the opium of the poor. Joe Hill described it as “pie in the sky when you die.”
Christianity extended the rule of Rome for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. The church created the Dark Ages and perpetuated them by control over knowledge and learning. Literacy was limited to royalty and the church.
There was good reason why Jefferson pushed for a wall of separation between church and state to prevent religion from interfering with the ideals of the American Revolution just as there was sound logic behind Diderot’s epigram regarding how mankind will only be free when the last royal is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
Has there ever been a more absurd idea than “the divine right of kings”? Or a more oppressive one?
Religion has never offered freedom and has always directed those who are oppressed to acquiesce to the oppressor with touching platitudes about how the meek shall inherit the earth.
Without knowing history we are blind to the lies people choose to tell us regarding that history.
We fail to learn about how religion supported slavery during the 19th century using the Bible as a reason for their racist oppression of Black people.
They used the same rhetoric regarding the destruction of the family and “god ordained” as reason to ridicule the very idea of women having the vote.
In Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism Susan Jacoby describes how the abolitionist Garrison supported women’s rights as did other progressive free thinkers such as John Stuart Mill.
Freeing the slaves would destroy society. The Bible said that Blacks were the sons of Cain and descendants of Ham, that god’s curse was upon them and besides conservative values demands a respect for the property of those chosen by god to be the masters.
Women fared no better. Man is the head of woman as god is the head of man. Religion ordained women to be inferior to men.
The suffrage movement would destroy both the family and civilization.
A hundred and fifty odd years later and the conservatives as well as the religious leaders are still saying that about feminism.
They have added gay and lesbian equality to the mix that is supposed to destroy the family and civilization. The mealy mouthed lies are the same, they are a never changing constant for those who use the invisible bully in the sky as a weapon of oppression.
At every turn one is reminded of another quote from Diderot, “Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.”
Indeed for all the trumpeting of American values on the part of the conservatives and the religious the very nature of the most sacred document America has produced, its Constitution, is routinely ignored.
When they form lynch mobs and demand that a majority have the right to vote a minority not have equal rights then they themselves lose the honor of being considered “true Americans.”