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last1standing's Journal
Posted by last1standing in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Oct 15th 2008, 09:16 AM
My wife just got back from a family reunion in Alabama and that was what one of her aunts announced at the dinner table one night. Apparently, much of the family from the south agreed as they nodded and began discussing the evils of abortion, stem cell research, affirmative action, etc..., while the family from the north sat there in near silence (I didn't go strictly because I knew this kind of thing would come up and I've never been good at holding my tongue in these circumstances). It sounds like a common example of the political conflicts that happen all over the country but there are two things I got from that story that I just can't get over.

First, it seems to be commonly accepted, not just in the south but in many evangelical churches around the country, that demonizing the Democratic party and any other group the fundies hate is fair game, legality and morality be Damned. These churches know the sway they have over their congregations and use that to affect government policy by drawing lines between what they desire (good) and what they don't (evil). They know very well that when faced with an eternity of Damnation, many of their members will eschew logic for salvation and they exploit this for their own moralistic and financial benefit. Worse yet, they know they will get away with it.

Second, one of those northerners who sat there listening to these people talk about the evils of stem cell research couldn't stand up and argue her views - she's quadriplegic, living in a specialized wheelchair that assists her breathing via a tracheotomy tube due to an accident when she was 14 years old. My niece is now 19 years old and the doctors have told us she is not expected to live much longer. Nearly every expert agrees that stem cell research has the potential to repair the damage done to her spinal cord but that with little to no funding, advances are very limited. What galls me is that she had to sit there and listen to these people tell her that God says that the medical procedures that could save her life are evil. These people have created a death sentence for her because of the teachings they learned from their pastors.

I don't like to post maudlin threads but I want everyone here to know what we're up against. My wife's family aren't purposely cruel, they're maliciously misguided. They believe what the pastors of their churches tell them but those pastors are preaching hatred and death. My niece's story is just one example of the real life repercussions of allowing churches to break the laws separating church and state with impunity. It is most likely too late for stem cell advances to help her but there will be another young girl, or boy, who might have a chance at a future from the research done today - a chance that fades a bit with each day that we allow these fundamentalists to control our policy on stem cells.

I support freedom of speech, even the speech of those who advocate the cruelty I've just mentioned. If the pastors of these churches want to support repubs and call Democrats evil, that is their Constitutional right. However, I do not support enabling this kind of hatespeech at the taxpayers' expense. We subsidize these fundies by allowing them to remain tax exempt because of their claim of religious organization, but they have broken their tacit agreement with the People and they have broken the laws of the nation that preclude churches from advocating for a political party. It is long past time to stop this demonization of political parties and beliefs. We must demand that these hatemongering churches lose their tax exemptions for politicking as an example to others to discontinue their policies of affecting political races.

Sometimes it isn't just a matter of politics, it's a matter of life and death.
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