Sunday, May 11, 2014

We must not be hampered by yesterday’s myths in concentrating on today’s needs

- Harold S. Geneen

Ideally, although many religious followers' oppose same-sex marriage and/or the right to abortion; most religious followers’ opinions on these two social issues seem to derive solely from their religious teaching, upbringing and/or bias opinions. And even though the First and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution enables all American citizens equal protection under the law, as well as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Seemingly, most religious followers’ disregard these Constitutional laws and rights, and instead; adamantly seek political positions of influence in an effort to impose religious idealism upon the rest of those in American who do not believe in one religion or another. Question is: Why does America need to extend the constitutional right to religious belief in the first place? After all, according to most religious followers’, God is in charge of our nation. So, why does the law have any correlation with religious regulations? Congress shall not support any establishment of religion. However, this doesn’t explain why the First Amendment enables all American citizens the right to religious belief in the first place. Yet for years, the Supreme Court has been called time and again to implement fair judgments against religiosity that seeks to strike down the freedoms instilled by the law. But when the forces of today’s leading top tier  religious organizations', such as: Judaism, Catholicism, Christianity, and Islam, embody followers’ and/or supporters’, who have deep pockets to influence political decisions and persuade majority votes in favor of religious beliefs, the end results often back fire and cause a terrorizing affect on us all. This is why I wrote this essay; to  continue a dialogue on an issue that hasn't been resolved, as well as to encourage religious followers' AND theologians, who refuse to share this truth with others', they are entrusted to educate, and those who seek to understand what is happening in today's political climate of Constitutional rights and religious beliefs. Therefore, in an effort to convey why I strongly oppose organized religious advocacy in political affairs, I’ve compiled peer reviewed scholarly research from university professors, theologians, Bible publishers’, and historical philosophers’, who played a key role in helping us better understand what all the fuss is really about regarding religions' around the world and their view of same-sex marriage.

Interestingly, the first research tool, I discovered while studying world religions', was that “Christianity has had a continuous and complex history of development through the early Church Councils that formulated the Creeds (brief statements of religious belief), the emergence of the Papacy ( the position or authority of the Pope), the schism between Roman and Orthodox Christianity in the eleventh century, the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and many more developments and splits since” (Leslie S. & David, H. 2009, p.108). Moreover, research compiled by Professor Mary Fisher, author of Living Religions, conveys, “in the ninth century, the Church produced documents old and new believed to legitimate the hierarchical authority of the papacy over the Church, and the Church over society, as the proper means of transmitting inspiration from the divine to humanity. Those who disagreed could be threatened with excommunication and lose their benefits of the Church’s secular power” (Fisher, M. 2008, p.331).

And even though the Church secretly still plays a key role in much of societies regulations today, the  true power holders in this race for secular control and religious indoctrination, are those who over see the publication of today’s religious documents. But what gives these stake holders the authority to manipulate religious followers’ with fear, through their revised doctrine that's controlling the thoughts, actions and/or viewpoints, of not only religious followers but the viewpoints of the non-religious? After all, historical doctrine introduces the ideal that  most religious documents were written by men. And when examining history, especially during eras in which most religious history accounts for (ninth-nineteenth century), I grew driven to understand what each religion’s doctrine actually conveys. Shockingly, what I learned was not only enriching, but mind boggling. For instance, Judaism had no single founder and/or central leader of group making theological decisions; instead, Jewish people have always turned to the” Tanakh (a different version of which Christians call “the Old Testament”)” (Mary, Fisher, 2008, p.236), as their primary source of religious teaching. However, Catholicism, Christianity, and Islam were each established by men. In fact, according to Professor Mary Fisher, “The Roman emperor passed an edict (an official public proclamation issued by authority) that all Christians were to recognize the authority of the Bishop of Rome.  And the strongest of Church administrators during these early centuries was Gregory I (“the Great”), who died in 604 CE. Wealthy by birth but ascetic by choice, he devoted his personal fortune to founding monasteries and feeding the poor” (Mary, Fisher, 2008, p.331).


Yet, it wasn’t until, I began combing through Christian Church religious doctrine, did I find a discrepancy, I strongly felt needed to be addressed. Take for instance; world renowned Bible publisher Thomas Nelson has a long standing reputation for publishing and disseminating spectacular Bibles. Surprisingly, when I examined three of their best selling Bibles, I learned that in most of their Bibles, verse I Corinthians 6:9, convey a message that- homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yet shockingly, each Bible this publisher has published over the course of years, reads differently. In fact, in one Bible, I Corinthians 6:9 reads: Do you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals…” (Thomas Nelson, 1982, p.770.) Then, in 1984, the same publisher revised the same scripture to read: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor extortionist, nor abusers of themselves with mankind” (Thomas Nelson, 1984, p.673). Of course, in another Bible published in 2001 & 2006 titled Extreme Teen Bible, the same Scripture has been altered from its chronological order verse 9 thru 10. And instead, verse I Corinthians 6:9 is now listed as I Corinthians 6:10; Scripture 9 has been completely omitted. Still, despite this fact, this edition of this Scripture, too, reads: Surely you know that the people who do wrong will not inherit God’s kingdom. Do not be fooled. Those who sin sexually, worship idols, take part in adultery, those who are male prostitutes, or men who have sexual relations with other men, those who steal, are greedy, get drunk, lie about others, or rob-these people will not inherit God’s kingdom”(Thomas Nelson, 2006, p.1346). Obviously, this publisher has no true remorse for this crime against humanity. But when, we honestly examine what I’ve shared, who is to blame?  After all, people volunteer to become active parts of religious organizations. Once we become adults, we each have a right to choose our path. We also have a right to relinquish those ideas rooted in our minds, by our parents and friends, especially regarding religion. It is our responsibility as religious followers, to investigate what it is we are learning and from which we learn that data from. After all, the devil seeks to deceive us all.

Now, while there are countless religious followers’, including myself, who find the Scriptures enriching and filled with wonderful words of inspiration. One cannot evade the misrepresentation pointed out above. After all, with laypersons (Bible committee members and publishers) controlling what the Scripture conveys to the public, should evoke all religious followers’ to open their eyes and realize what has been going on throughout history.  I say this because, both Catholicism and Islam’s  doctrine are published and disseminated the exact same way Christian religious doctrine is. Funny thing though, such doctrine can only be obtained via religious bookstores, online, and in brick and mortar stores, such as Barnes and Nobles. Is this how God really intended for us to gain knowledge of HIS existence? If so, why are we subject to cost? Not only must we pay for religious doctrine, in many religions, we are forced to give a portion of our money to the organization. This is primarily why the law has been more or less, forced to play a key role in the on-going development of today’s religions'. Without the law, our society would be even more chaotic; and religion, would have an even greater hold on the infrastructure of political policies. Sadly, the one group that continues to be entangled in religious warfare and bias opinions, is the LGBT community.  Like myself and many others, who practice one religion or another, there is a great divide on the issue regarding, if LGBT people should be allotted the civil liberties the Constitution has always rendered to American citizens', since it was signed. However, it seems such regulations continue taking a back seat to the prominence of organized religions' and their religious itinerary. Because of this and for many more reasons not mentioned, I strongly feel organized religious groups' should not be allowed to influence political decisions of today’s political leaders.

In fact, because of the high level of religious intolerance towards homosexuals and lesbians in America, many religious followers’ refrain from embracing homosexuals and lesbians, because they believe such people are an abomination (digesting). Moreover, such individuals believe allowing women the right to abort their child is condoning killing an innocent person. Yet when the government erects a barrier that makes it more difficult for members of one group (homosexuals and lesbians) to attain the same benefits as another group (heterosexuals), the injury is the denial of equal treatment resulting from the imposition of the barrier. In this case, denying same-sex loving people equal protection under the law and disenabling them to wed, nationally, despite Supreme Court rulings and state rebuttals against this fundamental right; not only is the government disregarding its Constitution, but each state that denies same-sex loving people the right to wed, is also denying same-sex loving people their U.S. Constitutional right. However, if any religious follower from any organized religion actually took time to investigate what they are studying and/or have committed their lives too, they would conclude that “past” religious leaders and/or politicians have imposed personal bias viewpoints within the framework of many religious documents, to restrict our lives and condone who is worthy of God's love, but denying homosexuals the right to God's love, altogether. After all, most religions have committees that oversee the development and/or revisions of its religious documents.  This is another reason why, I strongly oppose organized religious groups from being allowed to act as political advocates, because their primary focus should be on the spiritual needs of people.

After all, additional research convey, the rise of Constantine to imperial rule in the early fourth century CE, evoked opposition to turn against the embracing of Christianity (2008). Moreover, it wasn’t until Constantine claimed that God showed him a vision of a cross in the clouds, that Christianity was tolerable to be embraced as a religion, alongside the state cult, of which Constantine was chief priest of (Mary Fisher, 2008). Unfortunately, followers of each religion failed to comprehend what revisions (hermeneutics) actually mean. This field of theology study is an attempt to interpret the Scripture. But how can anyone interpret the Scripture, especially when no one living over the past 100 years, can give an honest account for what really happened during the pre-Christ era and beyond.

Perhaps, this one of the primary reasons why so much scholarly research has been conducted on the countless errors and fallacies exposed within today’s religious doctrine. Still, despite such findings, many religious followers’ maintain their beliefs and idealisms in the religion of their choice, because they strongly feel they are right in their assessments. And because of this, many religious organizations that do embrace both same-sex marriage and abortion, without discomfort, gain more followers’ than those religions and denominations that oppose such liberty. In fact, within the 21,000 independent Christian Church denominations, falling under 156 main groupings, the Unitarian church not only embraces same-sex love, but conducts same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, “American abortion attitudes have remained remarkably stable since the 1970’s; there is a solid consensus supporting the legalization of abortion” (Michele, D. & Savage, S, 2006, p.7); even though, “Southerners and rural Americans are more likely than others to disagree with abortion” (2006).

Surely, after examining the evidence I've presented, those who seek clarity on the issue of homosexuality and religious doctrine, should honestly evaluate the evidence, without bias. Doing so, will help Americans' begin rebuilding their foundation of hope and faith, on facts that cannot be ignored when questioning the existence of a divine Creator. After all, no man birthed the fish in the sea or helped in the development of cats, birds and/or flowers. Therefore, in conclusion, I must point out that, “conservative variants of Christianity teach adherents that religious scripture is inerrant and authoritative over human affairs, and that it is the yardstick against which all other sources of information and insight should be evaluated (Hempel and Bartkowski, 2008. p.1647-74). And as a person who was introduced to the Christian Church, at an early age; over the years, I’ve learned the value and importance of conducting research on the history of today’s top tier religions'. In doing so, not only have I gained essential knowledge on how each religion was established and/or who established these religions; I’ve learned how many religious followers' actually lack clarity on each religion, they profess to follow and/or support. Because of this lack of knowledge, many in the body of religion suffer tremendously. So much, many of those who seek to find a place of salvation and comfort, disregard the Church and/or other religious organizations as safe havens,  simply because, there has been and continues to be an increased level of corruption entangling people in misinformed data published by today’s religious doctrine publishers. Luckily, most of today’s history conveys a rich understanding on the key ingredients any religious follower needs to consider, in order to attain the level of peace and happiness most religious followers' seek. And despite the seemingly endless outcry for salvation and peace, many religious followers’ continue to spew negative idealism, strongly opposing same-sex love and the U.S. Constitutional right to abortion and equality for LGBT people. Due to this, and for many reasons more, I strongly feel organized religious advocacy has its place within the structure of social and moral perimeters. However, those perimeters should not impede upon the civil liberties of non-religious followers’ and/or supporters’. Not because doing so is a direct violation of an individual’s Constitutional right, but because all Americans' have the right to worship their God as they see fit. No one, regardless of their religion of choice, should be given the authority to force those who do not believe in any religion over another and/or embrace religion at all, to live in compliance to the regulations imposed upon religious followers’, by the religious leaders, religious followers' “willfully” place their trust in. Religion should be the cornerstone of all religious followers' essence of human peace and intelligent understanding...



Stevenson, L. and Haberman, D., (2009). Ten Theories of Human Nature: Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Plato Aristotle, the Bible, Kant, Marx, Sartre Darwinian Theories, Oxford University Press,  New York, NY, p.108


Fisher, Mary, (2008), Living Religions: Seventh Edition, Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, p. 236


Fisher, Mary, (2008), Living Religions: Seventh Edition, Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, p. 331


Fisher, Mary, (2008), Living Religions: Seventh Edition, Pearson Education Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, p. 376


Hempel, Lynn M., and John P. Bartkowski, (2008), “Scripture, Sin, and Salvation: Theological Conservatism Reconsidered”, Social Forces 86:1647-74


Michele, D. & Sarah, S. (2006), Values and Religion in Rural America: attitudes towards abortion and same-sex relations. The Carsey Institute at the Scholars’ Repository, New Hampshire, CT. p.7;


Nelson, Thomas, (1982), Holy Bible: New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN. p. 770


Nelson, Thomas, (1984), Holy Bible: King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN. p. 673


Nelson, Thomas, (2006), Extreme Teen Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN. p. 1346







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