America may be creeping toward a religious state. Think of all the atheist politicians who try to use the lever of faith as a tool for control.
Does anyone really think Donald Trump is religiously devout—or even believes in anything greater than himself? (Remember the famous “Two” Corinthians.) Yet this man of no faith has many minions who will pretend he does.
Trump will have six clergy members pray at his inauguration. Other presidents have used one or two. The irony of this would be humorous, were it not for the deeper point that Trump will use religion to divide, not to unite—just has he has done at every other step on this journey.
Of the six clergy, five are Christian and one is Jewish.
If we let him, Trump will use fear to rouse the rabble, attacking Muslims and anyone who looks or acts differently.
- “That man over there! The one with the beard and the turban on his head! Get him! Oh, he’s Sikh? That’s not a tribe of Islam? They’re pacifist? I don’t care, he shouldn’t be allowed to look like that or pray that way – this is America!” (Hate crimes against Sikhs have been up since 9/11.)
- Woman whispers to stewardess on plane: “That man next to me is plotting something: I saw him writing in Arabic.” (True story: turns out it was an economist jotting algebraic formulas -- and yes, algebra comes from the Middle East.)
To anyone of faith who thinks they have the “right” answer, given only to their own tradition and withheld from billions of others: Take a deep breath; recognize the inherent limitations of any one person’s understanding; recognize the huge dangers that arise from monopolies (which is why both Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson supported an open market for religion, and not state-sanctioning of such); and lastly, try to open your heart.
From Richard Rohr comes these words of pluralism and hope:
- There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things.
- There is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity, and longing for this Divine Reality.
- The final goal of all existence is union with Divine Reality.
For an evolutionary theory to explain this, see Teilhard de Chardin’s, The Phenomenon of Man.