Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Limits of Religious Liberties

The recent flap about the contraception issue & the Catholic hierarchy & the Obama folks is reaching new levels of absurdity - and the reduction of that absurdity to even greater absurdity is satirized in a comic in today's NY Times.

While this was going on I was on travel/returning from Japan on business.  My travel reading was "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer, which intertwines the doings of Fundamentalist Mormons with the historical Mormons.  I have to say, after reading that book, that I would not be very likely to vote for someone very far up in the Mormon hierarchy for any political office.

If it offends anyone, well, not much can be done, but when religious figures seek to impose their viewpoints on the behavior of others, whether it's through the clumsy efforts of the Catholic hierarchy to complain about other people's sexual behavior, or the Mormon church's efforts to rein in criticism of it by their members efforts at honestly discussing that church's history, reasonable people should object.

The Catholic church still hasn't quite accepted its institutional complicity in the physical and sexual abuse of untold numbers of children and teens.  The Mormon church still denies any official responsibility for their role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. And regarding the latter, if you read Krakauer's book you can't but come to the conclusion that the Mormon culture bears a great deal of responsibility for the right-wing fringe in this country.

The simple fact is, the hierarchies of such organizations are acting out of hubris, greed for power when they posit themselves as some kind of moral arbiters whose "morality" gives them license to run roughshod over the obvious public good.

People can believe what they will, but when it comes to public policy, we should be doing things that benefit all. 

1 comment:

Petteri Sulonen said...

I find it odd how difficult it is for many people to understand that religious liberty does not include the liberty to impose your religious views on others. Seems so obvious to me.