I find that I’ve grown increasing intolerant of fundamentalist religion. I simply have no time for people (*cough* -Mike Huckabee- *cough*) who turn off their brains to the reality of the world.
This realization about myself has been disturbing on several levels. First, I don’t much like being intolerant. I’m not sure it’s good for me, and I’d much prefer to respect people’s deeply held religious beliefs, no matter how stupid. (Hopefully it goes without saying that I maintain profound regard for others’ right be believe whatever nonsense they want; I expect the same level of respect toward my right to worship, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster.) But the Karl Rovian politics of the last several years have made it abundantly clear that complete religious idiocy cannot be ignored, and that if we do, we do so at our own peril.
Second, being intolerant of fundamentalist religion occurs for me in part because those religions are in turn intolerant (of gays, Jews, Catholics, etc.). Oh the irony of being bigoted toward someone because they’re also bigoted. What a lovely turn of events.
Finally, and perhaps most distressingly, I don’t feel like there is much alternative. Andrew Sullivan had a wonderful blog post (well-worth reading), “Why do we diss Baptists?”, wherein he said:
…for me, the evolution issue is very hard to get past. Those who believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago and that human life has not evolved from more primitive forms are people I cannot engage with in civil discourse. To posit faith in things unprovable and unknowable is one thing. To posit faith in something demonstrably falsifiable is another. I simply have no tolerance for creationism or for those who enable it. Creationists are as much an insult to reasonable Christians as they are to rational thought. And they perpetuate the notion that religious faith is indistinguishable from idiocy.
That is exactly how I feel, and why I disagreed so strongly with Mitt Romney’s speech earlier in the campaign about religion in politics.
Immutable individual characteristics (race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) should surely be ignored in judging a person’s suitability for office, but the bizarre idea that the beliefs a candidate holds most dear are somehow out-of-bounds is nuts. In fact, it seems to me that they form an excellent basis for judging a person’s suitability, which is one reasonâ€”even the primarily reasonâ€”I find Huckabee’s belief in creationism so damning.
On the other hand, Huckabee had this to say in his book Character is the Issue,
Politics are totally directed by worldview. That’s why when people say, ‘We ought to separate politics from religion,’ I say to separate the two is absolutely impossible.
So it’s not like we have nothing in common, even if we won’t be starting a mutual-admiration society anytime soon.
In the meantime, I’m still trying to work through the day-to-day implications of all of the above.