Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Opposing Hinduism Because Reasons

Idaho State Senator Steve Vick outed himself this week as a Poor Oppressed Christian when he made a big deal of his opposition to opening a state legislative session with a Hindu prayer. While Vick admitted that non-Christians have a right to offer invocations under the First Amendment, he nevertheless treated the upcoming event as an occasion to whine to the media about how awful it was.

Poor Oppressed Christians are so obnoxious because the mere presence of other religions mortally offends them, even though it in no way inconveniences them. As a member of a minority religion I have no problem listening to Christian prayers. I actually find that many Thelemites know the Bible better than most Christians. But I do have a problem with those Christians who aren't even willing to exhibit basic politeness in the presence of religions other than their own.

State Sen. Steve Vick (R-Dalton Gardens) admitted that the First Amendment permits prayers by non-Christians, but he did not think Hindus, in particular, should be allowed to pray in the statehouse, reported The Spokesman-Review.

“They have a caste system,” Vick said. “They worship cows.” Hindus do revere cows as a symbol of life, but they do not worship them.

“To invite other religions in that aren’t represented in the legislature I don’t believe does anything to strengthen our state or our country,” Vick said.

He said the United States was “built on the Judeo-Christian not only religion but work ethic,” and Hindu prayers might “undermine” that.

Frankly, that last statement is complete bullshit. The United States was very deliberately not built on any one religion. The majority of the founding fathers were Christian, but their explicit goal was to create a nation in which people of all faiths could worship as they saw fit. Second of all, the idea that a "work ethic" is unique to Judaism and Christianity is so out there that it's even difficult to mock. I'll bet there are at least a few hundred million Hindus in the world who work a lot harder than Steve Vick does.

What amazes me about these people is how shortsighted they are. Don't they realize that members of minority religions feel excluded like Vick presumably does whenever one of the Poor Oppressed insists that Christians are the only "real Americans" and their religion alone should be represented in the public sphere? The whole point of religious freedom is that it has to apply to all religions equally, or it's not religious freedom.

In fact, I suspect in many cases like these what's going on is political gamesmanship rather than abject stupidity. But the power of stupidity being what it is, sometimes it's hard to tell.

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