(The following is a special comment by David 2, co-host of “American Heathen®” and the host of “Brutally Honest”.)
When it comes to religion and politics, those two things have a lot in common. Both are venues for power-hungry manipulators to worm their way into the lives of others without accountability. Both demand unquestionable loyalty and compliance. Both are guilty of perverting the human condition. Both seem to have a problem with money and continually demand more of it from others. Both are fixated on trying to control our actions, supposedly for “our own good”.
And I’ve discovered that both utilize the same cultish arguments to keep their power and control over others.
Imagine going to an atheist, or an agnostic, or a freethinker, and telling them that they HAD to make a choice between Christianity and Islam. Not only that, but you were then told that no matter which of those two options you HAD to choose, you HAD to support even the most extremist of positions within that group, even if you didn’t agree with those positions yourselves.
In other words, if you chose Christianity, you HAD to support the most extremist of sects within the extremist of factions within the forty-four-thousand-plus derivations of Christianity that currently exist. That extremist group would become the de facto image of the whole religion. No matter what they say, no matter what they do, you HAVE to support them, and do so without question or public challenge. Not only support them, but you HAVE to defend and justify their actions and stances when challenged by others. Ditto for Islam.
If you were a Christian, you probably wouldn’t have too much of a problem doing that. The choice would be easy for those people, and they would easily defend their chosen faith no matter what. Even lesser faiths like Judaism would find it easy to pick a side, especially given how one wants to exterminate them now and the other wants to wait until Armageddon.
But we’re not talking about forcing a Christian or a Muslim to choose between those two dominant global faiths. That kind of situation is dilemma-free. We’re talking about atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and pretty much anyone who is neither Christian nor Muslim. We’re talking about forcing THEM to choose between two dominant global faiths when they would find both to be abhorrent in their own ways.
Don’t want to choose, you say? Tough! We’ll barrage you with campaigns telling you to “Choose or Die”. We’ll hassle you with prerecorded phone calls telling you that you HAVE to choose one of two dominant faiths over the other. We’ll pepper the airwaves and litter the newspaper editorials with messages telling you that you HAVE to choose between those two beliefs and paint the other side with the nastiest of imagery the human imagination can come up with. We’ll stick signs in lawns and street corners and billboards telling you that you HAVE to choose between Christianity and Islam. The fate of the whole human race is at stake, don’t you know?
Alternatives? There are NO alternatives! You HAVE to choose between those two dominant faiths. We’re not going to allow you to waste your belief on some useless delusion of an “alternative”. And we’ll continually repeat the phrase “wasted belief” in the mainstream media and social media and email circles. It’ll come rolling off the tip of your tongue whenever anyone even remotely suggests an “alternative” to the two dominant religions. Not only that, but we’ll launch a barrage of messages from “experts” claiming that there has ALWAYS BEEN those two specific dominant religious beliefs all through human history, even if the facts prove otherwise.
The time has come. Make your choice, atheist: Christianity or Islam. Make your choice, free-thinker: Christianity or Islam. Make your choice, agnostic: Christianity or Islam. Choose! What are you waiting for? Time’s up! CHOOSE!
How many of you would find that abhorrent? How many of you would want to resist to your dying breath the demand that you pick between two dominant faiths that you would rather have nothing to do with? How many of you would want to stand up and defend what you personally believe?
Welcome to my world as a political independent.
This is what I have to live with anytime the subject of politics comes up. If I question the actions or stances or statements of a Democrat, then I’m instantly branded as being a member of the GOP, and vice-versa. I can’t question President Obama’s policies without being branded a conservative “Republican”. I can’t question the logic (or lack thereof) of the GOP without being branded a liberal Democrat.
And of course, come election time, I am inundated with continual messages not only telling me that I HAVE to vote, but that I HAVE to choose between two parties that are so corrupt and so full of institutionalized narcissism that they have become both psychotic and sociopathic. I am told that I HAVE to choose, and yet I am condemned for MAKING my choice, no matter WHAT I choose! Every time, no matter which party I choose, no matter which candidate I end up picking, I am ridiculed by one party or another for MAKING THAT CHOICE!
Be thankful, then, that you are not being pressured to make a choice of your beliefs on a continual basis and then be condemned for making that choice!
And it is understandable why supporters of the two dominant political parties will want to lie and exaggerate and pull out all of the stops to get every vote they can, by hook or by crook. They have a vested interest in LYING about how there has “always been two parties” and trying to convince people that somehow not voting for THEIR dominant political party is a “wasted vote”.
What surprised me, though, is seeing the same “wasted vote” arguments being recited BY atheists, free-thinkers, and agnostics. To see people who I know are atheists or free-thinkers or agnostics take a look at my support of third party groups and actually tell me that I am “wasting my vote” for supporting them.
And I have to call “bullshit” on that. Because let’s get brutally honest here… my support of third party groups in defiance of the two dominant political parties is MY atheism! And I am just as angered at being told that I HAVE to choose between two overbearing dominant political parties as you would be if you were told that you would HAVE to choose between two overbearing dominant religious beliefs!
We are not BORN into any political party, just like we are not BORN into any religious belief. We are indoctrinated into both our religious and our political stances by parents and peers and by the messages in the media. And, yes, sometimes we CHOOSE to go along with “the crowd” within the two dominant parties, just like one would CHOOSE to go along with “the crowd” in any dominant faith.
But sometimes we CHOOSE to do something different. Just like someone CHOOSES a different religious path, so too can they CHOOSE a different political affiliation. We can make a decision based not on political rhetoric, but on LOGIC and REASON, just like you – as atheists, agnostics, and free-thinkers – made your decisions about what you CHOOSE to accept about the world you live in.
So my question to those of you who have CHOSEN to not accept either of the dominant religions is this: WHO ARE YOU to condemn my choice to not accept either of the dominant political parties? Because, as far as I am concerned, those of you who do just that are guilty of intellectual hypocrisy.
Now I can understand why you may want to support either of the dominant political parties. And I know how important every vote is in any given election. Whole careers have been made or lost by as few as a handful of votes. But just like you would not want to be insulted and intimidated into a religion you find disgusting, you are not doing your political choice any favors when you use the same tactics on political independents such as myself. And you do yourself an even bigger insult when you use denigrating terms like “wasted votes” for others, because if you cannot value their political choices, how can you expect others to value your religious choices?
My predecessor, H. L. Mencken, once said that he respected another man’s religion in the same light as he accepts that man’s assertion that his wife is beautiful and his kids are smart. I would add that the same should apply to one’s political choices. Respect them in the same way that you expect of yours.