Section One

April 29, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 17

Sat, Feb 27, 2016


by Marsha C. Botzer

Washington State in the Age of Intolerance, April 2005:

What tricks have been played with the honest human feelings of great love and transcendent joy! These powerful creators of culture and discovery have been taken over by the worst among us, not for the first time as history shows, and used once again to bring anger and intolerance to the brink of absolutism and theocratic domination.

The gods and the political bigots have had enough place in our mental worlds, it is time for them all to go! We have had centuries of madness and illusion, blood, curses and condemnation, all in the name of wishes and empty air. It is far too late in human history to give any attention to the madness of popes, mullahs and preachers, or to give even a moment’s credence to the blank righteousness of politicians.

A local religious thug bullies Microsoft with threats of boycott, a religious politician votes against equality amid proclamations of his holy beliefs, and a national leadership covers its lies with a film of angry faith!

All these must go the way of their imaginary gods, they must be dismissed again by our intelligence, they must be opposed, voted out and forgotten – they must fade away like their tendentious illusions, fade like the ghosts they have become in this real world we keep alive with our care and love.

We hang on the edge of a new age of superstition, a time when many citizens of the United States believe in a biblical scenario of insane fiction, a fable that promises to whisk believers away to a heaven where they can watch the rest of humanity suffer horrible torments. If we fall further into this Dark Age – a dark age with nuclear bombs – the world of blood and broken life will become a reality made by our own hands.

It is not necessary to have fundamentalist gods among our thoughts. We do very well without any phantoms conjured from minds on fire with illness and power, and we can enjoy a day of sunshine or endure a night of storm just as well without any gods hovering in the background.

What we do need is human care, human love, honest law, and a leadership that thinks about living people and the equality of all.

The current army of repression is led by religious right generals; there is no doubt of this fact. A claim to some sort of religion is behind every call for exclusion, every drive to restrict women, every vicious proclamation against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people, every horse-throated preachment against workers, every smooth assurance that war is the answer, every trick to reverse the language of civil and human rights, every attempt to use the honored terms of race, class and equality as weapons against simple justice; and it is true that in every callus claim that sputters an argument of condemnation you hear the echo of religious fantasy.

Think of them: Falwell, Dobson, Frist, Hutcherson, Hargrove, Bush, Schlafly. Think of what animates them, what they call on as they condemn. In all of these, and in many more, you do not have to look far to find the skeletal hand of old religion.

We do not need them any more, we never needed them. They took from us and they still take from us, our peace, our equality, our hope and our lives! Their time is over, they hold on with bloody nails and threats. But they are the past, the spidery past of reaction and greed; they are the tricksters of human desires and the self-absorbed comedians of death.

I ask that in our struggles against the crush of superstition and power we never fear to call out the fantasy of religion and the madness of blighted politicians. “No Gods, No Masters” was Margaret Sanger’s motto. That view will serve us well today.

I respect all those who serve justice and equality. Some do so in the name of a religion or a church, but I know they are the same people who would give their lives to justice even if they had never heard of a god or a faith! I love them and know they will use what the roll of history has given them. We are friends. And we remain friends while we hold these different views of religion – it is certainly possible! There is nothing to fear in such intellectual truthfulness, in fact it brings a bond and a unity that would surprise most who hear of it.

I ask you to leave the fantasies of the past and embrace the justice of today. Leave the monsters of the past behind, and get busy right now to oppose the current lords of threat and absolutism. Tell the pastors and priests and all the holy ones you do not need them and will welcome them only if they join you in the social and electoral struggle for fairness, justice and equality! Vote out the religious intimidators, vote them out of our state, out of our country, and out of our lives. Dethrone and reject the rich leaders and cringing bureaucracies of the reactionary religious right. Go to work on this project now and do it until we can meet together in a world free of mad superstition and robbed injustice.

Here are two organizations to consider:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

The Secular Web

Leslie Robinson

Madelyn Arnold

Paula Martinac