Religion and Politics need to be very far removed from each other. We need both to balance each other, but that never seems to happen. When one gets the upper hand, look out people! Bad juju follows every time. Even in little Dorothy’s world of Depression Era Kansas, there had to be violence and death to reset the scales of justice.
Here is the five second outline of religion.
Impotent and scared, self -centered humans needed an explanation for the forces of nature.
They created unseen gods to explain what couldn’t other wise be explained.
Eventually a priest came forward to run the show at a price that escalated over time.
“Trust me, people, I got this. The answer to our problems are the people next door. Seize their land, grain, cattle and women.”
(Charlton Heston before he joined the NRA.)
At first it was really cool to have priests running the show. It was new and sexy and liberating to rampage with the moral upper hand.
A new coercive order came out of the earlier chaos.
But the priest’s family inherited the job’s benefits and a priestly aristocratic class developed.
The priests concocted really cool ceremonies and rituals with costumes and props that amazed and scared and entertained the common folk, the 99.9% who labored on behalf of the cool priesthood, their shrines and temples.
(Where the Wild things Are.)
The 99.9%, ironically, felt more secure while being controlled because they knew the gods were on their side. Yippee! Because the priests told them so and executed anyone who disagreed.
Unfortunately, being essentially selfish human beings, priests built up riches at the expense of the rest of their people by taxing them somehow or enslaving them. Nice work if you can get it.
However, by that time they had become the lawmakers for all because they stood between the gods and the rest of mankind. Whoopy ding ding. They called the shots and reminded everyone that they called the shots.
The priests interpreted what the gods did or didn’t do in such a way that it kept the priests in power. “Oh that? That’s a holy enigma chupa cabra enchilada.”
“Holy Moly! Posiedon is really ticked off! We need sacrifices right now… but not from my family. Slaughter a 99.9% er.”
They usually had to kill somebody for some orthodox reason, but really they were just keeping their own power.
(Aztec holy heart extrication. Hmmm, looks like a 40 regular.)
Pretty soon the priests needed body guards since violence became necessary with the control of others.
Inevitably the whole thing collapsed because of drought or natural disaster or the invasion by another bunch of lunatics with a different cast of gods. Or even better, when one of the priests accused the others of lying to the 99.9%.
So a new god would be born from the disaster, who must be appeased by the next selfish group of priests who arose from the ashes like an old burnt chicken.
Repeat. “It’s all good. Trust me. I got this.”
Politics is very similar to religion.
Secular government, religion in a different uniform, comes in between the people and some material enemy.
(Washington crosses the Delaware before the Coast Guard issued him a citation for overcrowding and standing up in a moving non-motorized craft.)
At first the secular governors are good revolutionaries and well armed… and then they get greedy and better armed.
Secular government attaches to myths of strength and greatness of the subject people.
Secular government develops symbols and raises an army to defend itself. Funny how only a few years ago it had to raise a rag tag army to fight the evil empire of tyranny and injustice which inevitably it has become.
Secular government develops a nifty tax code to pay their own salary. The new priests tax the 99.9% sufficiently to finance the expansion of the new empire. It sounds different, but it’s not. Some unfortunate soul is gonna have his heart ripped out to preserve the state.
Secular government’s primary job is to make it absolutely necessary that everyone submit to secular government, i.e., maintain its preeminence in perpetuity.
Secular government does not like or allow competition as it develops an aristocratic ruling class that mutates into lobbyists, which are congressmen without constraints.
Secular government will eventually butt heads with religion, trying to suck out the vital marrow of religious truths and values while breaking the bones of any real religious power that might challenge the secular center’s grip on temporal power.
Secular government eventually overrules all competition until the government becomes bloated and unsustainable, and yet demands to be worshiped and respected.
Secular government eventually collapses under its own weight… a fatted pig that cannot walk, and so dies from morbid obesity a few feet away from the public tax trough.
(A former congressman turned lobbyist in Arlington, Va.)
Mixing religion with politics is toxic and brings out the worst in both. When the religious right got in bed with right leaning politicians, things got very hostile and stupid. Somehow God was sort of on the ballot. I’m sure there is a matching leftist rendezvous somewhere also, where secular leftists plot the neutering of religious institutions, opening a perfect secular world for loony leftists. I suppose the secular media and progressive politicians go to the same parties in Washington and make fun of religious folks, who are at barbeques with preachers and politicians doing the same thing only using different buzz words. That’s an opposite and equal mistake. Again, we need both but not together and not with one subordinate to the other. There needs to be a strong tension between religious folks and secular government, power balancing power, with guaranteed destruction of civilization hanging in the balance.