Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Politics of Faith

How George Bush Capitalizes on Your Trust

I'm sitting in my apartment on a Friday night and don't have too much to do or talk about, but I just had an interesting thought, so if it's possible, I thought I'd try to convey this epiphany to you and ask for your comments about it.

In case you didn't know by now, I think our government's leaders and the policies they choose to enact are fairly important to this nation's future, and unless you're really dense (or this is the first post of mine you've ever read), it's rather obvious I don't like the guys who are running the show right now one bit.

In wondering about WHY anyone would support George W. Bush for president, I think I've stumbled upon part of the reason...


I'm sure most of you who read my blog ascribe to a particular religious belief, and to be perfectly honest with you, that's fine by me. Personally, I'm an agnostic (meaning I believe that if there is a God, he'd be outside the comprehension of mankind). My friend Richard wrote recently on his own beliefs and I agree very strongly with him:
"I'm agnostic. I can build a case for or against god. Because of this, I can neither confirm nor deny his existance. I refuse to follow the advice of Pascal:

'Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.'

for I believe this cheapens the entire situation. Merely believing because it's safer to believe and be wrong than to not believe and be wrong just doesn't seem right to me."

Put simply, I think there's a vast difference between what is spiritual (which comes from within a person) and what is religious (which comes from an organized group of men telling you what to believe). There are a lot of people out there who would disagree though, saying you can't have spirituality without religion. These people are wrong, in my view, and that brings me to my next point:

How Faith Affects Electoral Politics

I have a lot of friends who "like" George Bush. When I press them about the reasons WHY they like George Bush, however, I rarely get an intelligent answer back (even though the people I ask usually are pretty intelligent). They often take the position that they can support pResident Bush (and the Iraq War, for example) because "they trust the guy."

This viewpoint is very difficult to argue with, because at its core is the issue of FAITH, which can be defined to mean: a "belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."

In other words, I could say, "There was no justification to invade and occupy a sovereign nation on the grounds we used for Iraq," and then quote a story discussing the concerns of British intelligence before the war:
TELEGRAPH - MI6 opposed revealing details of its intelligence and, at any event, it didn't back up the claims Mr Blair wanted the dossier to make. The latest Joint Intelligence Committee assessment, dated Friday, March 15, said information on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction was "sporadic and patchy".

It was barely able to back up the claim that Saddam had any sort of weapons programme, confining itself to concluding: "We believe Iraq retains some production equipment, and some small stocks of chemical warfare agent precursors, and may have hidden small quantities of agents and weapons. There is no intelligence on any biological agent production facilities."

I could continue to debate my side until blue-in-the-face, backing my claims up with a variety of sources and multitude of facts. This is not just true of the illegal war against Iraq either; Bush manages to screw up just about everything he touches, so it's no surprise that I'm opposed to a majority of his policies.

But what's the point of arguing with others (even though logic and facts back my positions up) if they're just going to shrug off your concerns by saying, "Hey, none of that matters. I personally BELIEVE what my government told me and have FAITH that they want to do the right thing"? It's like trying to reason with a three-year-old.

Seriously, I can think of only two reasons why anyone would vote for Bush, so if you fit into one of these two categories, go ahead and vote for him:

1. You make a TON of money (e.g., over a million dollars a year) and have no social conscience - you don't care about homeless children or women who have suffered from domestic violence (these people are nothing but "welfare queens," as Ronald Reagan might say).

2. You are a fundamentalist Christian who believes the second-coming is close-at-hand. You believe America would be better off as a Christian-led theocracy. You have no problem with George Bush saying: "I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job."

If you don't fit into one of these two categories, then I would suggest you study the issues more closely. Maybe you'll find the evidence supports Bush and his policies, but I doubt it. In the event that your research proves me wrong, I'd love to hear your thoughts on matters. Just don't tell me that you're voting for Bush because you "like the guy."


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