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May,1996

Religion Gives Itself a Bad Name - by Cliff Walker

It is May 2, the National Day of Prayer. I have no clue as to why the government exalts this one religious rite. Doesn't it seem ironic that so many problems go unsolved in spite of peoples' prayers? Many evils are actually caused by the reliance on prayer and the supernatural.

Ranchers in Montana have been surrounded by FBI agents for weeks, announcing that they've taken "an affirmation ... to Yahweh" not to surrender. Janet Reno acts like she knows what can happen when a heavily-armed group on a sprawling ranch talks to this "God" fellow.

Stay tuned.

Talk-show host Ron Reagan (Jr.)* gripes that "these nuts ... should not invoke the name of God" because "it gives our opponents more ammunition to use against us" -- as if one religion any is less preposterous than the others. From my point of view, all religions are equally bizarre.

If we let any religion flourish, then we must let them all -- no favorites; no exceptions -- even if some folks use their beliefs to justify crime.

An Oregon father was convicted of negligent homicide for refusing to seek medical treatment for his son. Instead, the parents anointed the boy with "holy oil" and asked fellow sect members to pray.

"Regular" Christians could easily see that this little sect "misinterprets the Bible" (even though the Bible says that prayer and oil cure illness). No one asked what might have occurred had the boy been forcibly treated and still died. And how might a jury have ruled had the parents belonged to a minority sect from, say, India?

Three California teenagers were charged with raping, torturing, and murdering a 15-year-old girl as part of a Satanic ritual. Prosecutors say the boys killed the girl "in order to commit the ultimate sin against God by sacrificing a virgin." No one wondered aloud if God and Satan might both be fictitious. And nothing from Mr. Reagan on whether these boys give "legitimate" Satanists a bad name.

Stay tuned.

Graphic Rule

    • Notes:

    • Footnote: Oops! Actually, it's his brother, ultra-right-wing radio talk-show host Michael Reagan.

Graphic Rule
Copyright ©1996 Cliff Walker; Portland, Oregon