Addict (drugaddict) wrote,


Note:  circulate this nice item by my
Princeton classmate Dana Smith. Bob Keeley


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (7/25/07)

Many religious people suffer a fatal flaw. They think they are right.
They sell certainty in an age of anxiety. They leave no room for doubt,
all of which means they cannot learn anything new or change their minds.
This is especially the case in America with Protestant Evangelicals
(formerly Fundamentalists) and the Republican Party.

The fool-hardy alliance between Republicans and Protestant Evangelicals
has led the Republicans to believe they are absolutely right especially
when they are dead wrong. President Bush’s final justification for his
Iraqi War is theological as though he were engaged in a messianic
crusade to liberate the oppressed. Messianism is not a part of his job
description as detailed in the Constitution. Having claimed
infallibility, Bush cannot change his mind.

Politicians often resort to the theological argument when all their
other arguments have failed. The claim to certainty by Evangelicals has
led many Republicans into all kinds of other political traps, such as
wanting to deny gays and lesbians their social and civil rights or
intruding into death beds, birthing rooms, and women’s wombs. The
confusion of personal values with political rights is dangerous.
Confused by their certainty, they end up being political mouthpieces for
a moral minority.

The result is that political conservatives have lost their true and
worthwhile voice, as Congressman Ron Paul has pointed out, which is to
advocate an abiding continuity with the enduring values of the past,
such as hard work, truth telling, loyalty, integrity, etc.

The bugaboo is truth which is a lot different from value. Faith has more
to do with value than truth. Faith begins with astonishment. Paul
Tillich, the great theologian, argued that doubt is “an element of
faith,” in fact, the growing edge of faith. The sadness is that many
people preclude themselves from the values of faith because of the
corrupt religiosity of many politicians and some religious leaders. Once
people claim to possess the one true religion, they are beginning the
greatest corruption of all because no one ever knows ultimate truth. At
best, we live in a world of the penultimate.

This is the reason that religion is the cause of so much evil in the
world. Possession of the absolute truth becomes a license to kill at its
worst or a justification for imposing private values on the public with
unfair laws. Lucretius, a 1^st century B.C. Roman poet, wrote, “So much
wrong could religion induce.” When politicians become theologians or
when religious leaders become politicians, watch out! It is a school for

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2007
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