My hopes for 2016, my loyal followers, are for a year in which secularism replaces sectarianism, sanity replaces stupidity, reason replaces religion.
2015 has been a fascinating year. It has highlighted the blight on our country of senseless gun-violence. While people are being killed daily by guns that are not for hunting and exist for the sole purpose of killing people, the National Rifle Association – an organization that once advocated for sensible gun-control – uses its huge lobbying power to prevent any meaningful discussion on gun-control. “Obama’s coming for your guns!” they’ve been bleating for the past seven years. I wish he would.
2015 has finally put the magnifying glass on the terrifying truth in our country that the police are out of control and, in most cases, will not be prosecuted for the murders they commit. And the hateful backlash against such movements as The Black Lives Matter movement has revealed the depth and breadth and pure ugliness of the racism that still plagues our country.
Last year’s also ugly reaction to opening the institution of marriage to same-sex couples has led to Republican presidential candidates espousing the absurd notion that governmental employees may refuse to uphold their oath to follow the Constitution on the grounds that doing so would violate their “strongly-held religious beliefs.” I suppose, then, that since the Christian bible, the Muslim Quran and the Jewish Torah (and who knows what other religious texts) allow for slavery and infanticide, I may enslave people and kill children because of my “strongly-held religious beliefs.”
2015 has witnessed yet more religious terrorism and all-out religious war as a result of the Bush/Blair lies following the September 11, 2001 attacks. As an atheist, I couldn’t give the proverbial rat’s ass which religion, which sect, which denomination, which cult is “responsible” and which religion is the “victim.” Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Olympians, Pagans, Shi ites, Sunnis, Protestants, Catholics, you name it. They’re all the same; they’re all to blame. Religion is to blame. And religious leaders, and those politicians who go along with them, most of all. They know that religion is false and nothing but superstition. And they know that keeping people in the thrall of religion with its glorification of poverty and death keeps the leaders in their positions of power.
It’s time for the world to open its eyes and reject the poison of religion.
As Henry II famously implored: “Will no one rid me of this tempestuous priest”?
And so, I wish you all a Happy New Religion-Free Year.