The Crusades, the Spanish inquisition, the British and American era of imperialism; all historical time periods illustrating the prolific spread of religion through means of violence or greed. Have generations of violence, hatred and discrimination become separated from religious practices and beliefs in modern society, or have these ideals evolved to fit the new era?
It is 2013; the prevalence of poverty, disease and inhumane working and living conditions is no longer a major concern in American society. As a result, the number of people praying to a deity in order to ensure their daily survival has also significantly reduced. One of the main reasons people followed Jesus in the early years of Christianity was to find salvation from their hardships in life; being righteous followers of Christ and the bible would earn them a place in a spiritual Heaven.
Considering 77% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, some would argue that the majority deserve to represent the moral and legal code of American society, but I contend that the legislation of religious morality is dangerous for the advancement of science and individualism in any society.
The problem arises in religious collectivism, imposing that specific religious dogma should be the moral and legal standard in society.
To clarify, religious dogma and morality are not the same. Dogma is the basis of religious doctrine and ideology, and morality is a system of beliefs or actions a society deems acceptable or unacceptable. Sean Faircloth, atheist, argues for the recapturing of the word moral as a means for social justice instead of religious rule.
An example would be Jessica Crank, a 15-year-old deceased cancer patient who did not receive treatment for her aggressive tumor as a result of her mother choosing “faith healing” to cure her cancer. To put into context the severity of Crank’s tumor, it had grown to the size of a basketball on her shoulder, causing her tremendous pain and eventually killing her. Crank’s mother was exempt from criminal charges because her actions were protected under Tennessee’s Religious Law.
Tennessee is also seeking a ban on using the word gay without exception in public schools. In 13 states religious based childcare goes without any safety and hiring requirements or inspections. How is it fair that a country based in the principle of separation of church and state is able to control and manipulate both?
It is not moral for religious legislation to drag down social progress by allowing mothers to get away with neglecting their daughters and allowing them to die. As Faircloth said, social justice needs to be reinstituted in order to prevent similarly tragic stories.