|Lately, we've had to face a score of God issues. This has been most
prevalent since a self-professed Jesus groupie acquired that plush, White
residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.
God issues range from President Bush's agonizing, constipated grimace over
federal funding for stem cell research of human embryos to the House battle
over his proposed "faith-based initiative" funneling tax dollars to religious
organizations servicing the poverty-stricken. That's a scam for another
conversation: at the end of the day, "Houses of Worship" are like everyone
else: they too need loot for electricity bills, too. Complimenting those
costs are carvings in wooden pews, larger murals, and bigger "churches"
spanning whole blocks or plots of acreage (mosques, synagogues and temples
always seem conveniently left out of the "faith-based" equation). Hence, the
God-pimp for our federal dollars is "Fast and Furious," upon realization that
the slippery slope defining the split between Church and State is now thinner
than ice. Once catching on to the tremendous sums of cash stewing in the
federal pot, even the usually anti-Republican Black clergy has become
unusually warm and fuzzy in the presence of conservative agenda
pistol-whippers. Opposition to use of tax money for "faith" is blocked by a
wall of sturdy arrogance and organized guilt tripping, to make the more
sensible lot of us feel as though we've personally insulted the Almighty
perched atop the heavens. It then filters into a thorny batch of other
busted, uncomfortable topics: abortion; school-choice; homosexuality, etc.
Most prominent on the political landscape is the electorate's capacity to
play God. The need to play God; be like God ... a desire to be as God as God
is - or is thought of. Detected is an excruciatingly painful fancy for
importance when nobody is really that important. The want for significance
beyond simple man-made laws and legislative legacies - that's not enough for
some claiming the cloth on their sleeve. Rather than win "the hearts and
minds of the people," religion is utilized to overwhelm, improperly influence
and conquer the souls. The human comedy in this being that God-play in
politics really isn't a game; it's a serious, sinuous stupor of transformed
truths suspiciously wrapped in lofty Western text and sophistic mold. Some
of us call them "Jesus Freaks" or "The Witnesses" anxiously tapping your worn
door, prostituting doctrine at picket fences regardless of how low your body
dropped to the floor behind your front window curtain. Get the point?
The same applies to everyday political and social theme. Complicated and
twisted rhetorical firestorms raging over the "ethics" of stem cell research
place us in a position to get barraged with a surge of verse, scripture,
ecumenical rant and sermon on publicly financed platforms. At the base of
each argument we find a series of disturbing questions as intrinsically
funky, yet obvious, as "Are We Alone In the Universe?"
It's not that religion doesn't hold a significant amount of my attention.
What has happened is that many of us prefer our distinction between the
man-driven interpretations of religion and the universal, infinite, but
inexplicable truths of spirituality. Both are vastly different. The former
is humankind's determination to understand and make sense of what we're
probably not supposed to really understand in the first place: God.
Spirituality is the understanding that there are things beyond any
conceivable understanding: just pure, simple faith in the existence of a
reigning Supreme Being. Thus, for me, the more acceptable conviction is that
people need to search for the common ground currently less sought in each
respective faith. Just because I was raised in a house filled with
Christians, Muslims or Jews doesn't mean the world should know. And, if the
world doesn't know it, so be it, since I shouldn't be in the business of
imposing it upon those who have their own set of beliefs.
Religion is an extremely personal subject, potentially dangerous to those
sensitive and merely offending to those strong enough to simply accept they
have a faith to tell, but are aware of growing differences. Hence, religion
grows into politics, politics into economics, and economics into society
within an infinite cycle of arguments. The debate rages on, endless, the
lines between humanity and spirituality blurred with each legislative take on
what's right and what's wrong.
There is the school of thought that holds, in some way, we are all under one
tiny roof and are somehow from the same Godly essence. Who God is or what
doctrine that Supreme Being should represent is of no consequence or concern
when we all sit at the same table ... only a dream to toy with, of course.
However, each religion or doctrine deserves respect, as they exist.
Problems arise when they are being tailored for the throat.
C.D. Ellison is Contributing Writer to Metro Connection. He can be reached