The Unspeakable Cruelty of Religion

It should be no surprise that the religious right (Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, white supremacists, and their ilk) are leading the red army to overthrow America and to drag her screaming backwards to the medieval dark ages. Throughout the centuries, religious zealots (such as those on the Republican Supreme Court) have subjugated women, disdained science, glorified violence, and desecrated nature. In addition, these religious zealots have tortured, maimed, and murdered human beings by the hundreds of millions who dare to look or think differently. 

Imagine what a beautiful and cohesive world we might have if religion had not burned, guillotined, shot, imprisoned, or electrocuted some of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known. 

Consider this: Four centuries ago, the Roman Catholic Church executed Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher, and scientist, for the crime of heresy. He was taken from his cell in the early morning hours to the Piazza dei Fiori in Rome and burnt alive at the stake. His crime? The audaciousness of believing the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system. I dare say you were not taught the names of some of the world’s greatest thinkers: Pietro D’Abano, Cecco d’Ascoli, Meister Eckhart, William Of Ockham, Jan Hus, Michael Servetus, Etienne Dolet, Pomponio De Algerio, Lucilio Vanini, and Kazimierz Lyszczynski. All were cruelly murdered by religious leaders. 

And the number of males executed pales compared to the hundreds of millions of women who have been raped, tortured, and slaughtered by the Inquisitors, witch hunters, and white Christian men. 

Jesus was purported to have taught that no one should be persecuted for being different. But his followers don’t seem to have gotten the memo. Great people were sacrificed because they did not believe whatever was in religious vogue at the time. Today that is vividly illustrated by pro-lifers who care nothing about the young girls in poverty and lack sex education. Particularly chilling is their cruelty toward those who have been raped or the victims of incest. 

Rather than the universal ideals of truth, beauty, and goodness, the religious right has historically championed lies, hideousness, and hatred. Religious people can consistently be recognized by what they are against rather than what they are for—for no as an answer rather than yes. As a result, they subjugate or slaughter those they fear—historically, that has always included those who are different—particularly women. 

And the Republican Party, no matter that many of them privately scorn religion, knows that the most potent form of hatred is religious hatred. And so, they rally around beliefs and people they mock to obtain power. One of the greatest ironies of contemporary America is that one of the most despicable and cruel white men to have ever lived is the champion of the religious right. 

Sound familiar? It should. It has always been this way. When will we learn that religious cruelty poisons everything? When will we say enough is enough? 

I, for one, have renounced religion, and I am better for it. I have done so because I believe in the universals of truth, beauty, and goodness. And even more, I believe in freedom. This past week, yet another freedom has been ripped away from women—and in turn, from all of us. Every day proves my renunciation of religion is the right thing. And every day, I fear that my renunciation of America is fast approaching. Unless something changes. Alas, religious history is not the friend of those of us who believe in truth, beauty, goodness, and freedom.