Saturday, May 18, 2013

Atheists vs Religious Believers

Every time a writer has something nice he wants to say about religion, they seem required to find the nearest atheist bogeyman to scapegoat. Brent Budowsky also seems to fall into this trap as he seeks to heap praise on Pope Francis.

Budowsky writes in this article from The Hill:

This is extraordinary, powerful and profound. There are profound differences between the policies of President Obama and Democrats versus the policies proposed by the atheist Ayn Rand and conservative voices such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Paul (sic) Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican leaders in Congress.

This is the kind of thing that seeps into the Democratic party, rots, and tries to destroy the party from the inside out. Ostensibly, Brent Budowsky and I are on the same side. Neither one of us seem to like the politics of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen Rand Paul, Rep Paul Ryan, or the Republican leaders in Congress. But we're not on the same side because I want a Democratic party that is inclusive of everyone instead of trying to keep certain religions, or people of no religion, on the outside of the party.

Let me see if this slight change will help illustrate the point:

This is extraordinary, powerful and profound. There are profound differences between the policies of religious President Obama and religious Democrats versus the policies proposed by the atheist Ayn Rand and conservative voices such as religious Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), religious Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), religious Rep. Paul (sic) Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and religious Republican leaders in [a] religious Congress.

Ayn Rand was an atheist, but since atheism isn't dogmatic there is no more reason for any atheist to believe the writings of Ayn Rand than there are to believe any other piece of fiction written in an old book. Her ideas were her own and are almost universally rejected by the atheist community.

Contrary to what some people believe, simply because something is written down doesn't make it representative of an entire group.

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to say that the Pope has made positive changes. Financial inequality is one of the larger problems facing the world today. The rich are getting richer on the labor of the poor. People are working and trying to live on less than a living wage. Businessmen and corporations are using people like a commodity that can be used up and discarded instead of treating them with the humanity that they deserve.

The pope specifically calls on world leaders to address the great economic and financial injustices, and I agree with him completely. The pope uses words like "cult" and "dictatorship" to describe the champions of financial justice and the conditions their policies create, and I fully agree with him about this, as well.

But financial inequality isn't the only problem facing the world today. Women are constantly treated as being worth less than men. People of color are still looked upon as if they are somehow inferior versions of humanity in the United States as well as Rome, Canada, England, and the rest of the world. Husbands and wives are actively denied access to information and birth control that they need to manage reproduction responsibly. Women are denied access to abortions even at the cost of their life and the life of their baby. Gay men as well as lesbians are denied the right to even have a family that includes the communal support all families deserve. Bisexual people are forced to stay in the closet just to try to escape being associated with the worst kind of promiscuity. Transgender people are denied access to medical care that they require to lead a healthy, well adjusted life. Children are being kicked out of countries because they were brought there when they were one year old instead of being born there.

I'm glad that the Pope Francis is trying to bring the Catholic church one step closer to the modern world. In my opinion he is a great improvement over Pope Benedict XVI. But make no mistake, neither Pope Francis nor the Catholic church is a supporter of social justice. They still have a lot to learn to even come close to the superior morality that many atheists have. Social justice should be for everyone. It shouldn't be limited to a particular Pope's favored group.

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