Democrat platform’s section on faith.

Saw a part of the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform over on Hemant’s blog.  Le sigh.

Faith. Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history. We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires. Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world — from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. People of faith and religious organizations do amazing work in communities across this country and the world, and we believe in lifting up and valuing that good work, and finding ways to support it where possible. We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests. There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.

And away we go…

Faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history.

Progress and justice?  What about when the right of suffrage had to be ripped from the steely grip of the faithful who cited god’s assurance that the man was the head of the household?  Where is the justice in the outcry of millions of Christians that necessitates the battle for equal rights for LGBT people?  And how is the dumbing-down of science on account of the demands of the faithful conducive to progress?

Progress and justice have been achieved through reason and compassion, nothing more.  Faith does not hold the monopoly on these things.  Humans do.

We know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires.

But the faithless are also inspired to good deeds.  There are many motivations to do good that do not require us to hand the deeds to our reason and our sense of self-worth/purpose to the empty hands of myth.  Yes, untrue beliefs can inspire people to good, but they can also make people blind to their humanity.  Marriage equality is on the DNC’s platform for 2012.  Would it need to be if not for the “justice” wrought by faith?

Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world — from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking.

In 2009 a Pew survey asked the question “Is there solid evidence the earth is warming?”  The results were…

Total U.S. population 47 %; Unaffiliated with any church 58 %; White mainline Protestants 48 %; White, non-Hispanic Catholics 44 %; Black Protestants 39 %; White evangelical Protestants 34 %

There can be no doubt that many who deny the world is warming (and, in so doing, proclaim their own scientific conclusions to be superior to the consensus of the world’s scientists) do so because the evidence-based conclusions do not align with the end-time predictions of their faith.  Religion’s only use for evidence or science is when it supports the religion’s conclusions.  When the evidence would prove believers wrong, faith takes over.  Whether it’s evolution, climate change, or any other product of science that advances the well being of our species, once it conflicts with the stories in the bible then faith stops being a friend to science.  As leaders of our nation, you must align yourselves with one or the other.  You cannot do both honestly.

I’d much rather see them catering to our humanity, which is shared by theist and non-theist alike, than to faith.  As it stands they seem to be saying that our faith has more to do with our charity than our humanity.  I guess if we’re all despicable by nature, as Christianity would have us believe, then that makes sense.  Of course, I think humanity is badass.

We believe in constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships with faith-based and other non-profit organizations to serve those in need and advance our shared interests.

Emphasis on our shared interests: feeding the poor, clothing the freezing, etc.  If one dollar of that money gets spent on a bible, will the DNC hold them accountable?  Why invest in faith-based groups if that worry is on the table when there are secular groups who focus only on the charity?

There is no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.

Supporting faith-based groups is essential to the flourishing of the country?  Imagine what that says to religious people: that without faith as a foundation for your charity, you likely wouldn’t give a shit.  If the country can’t flourish through simple human compassion, it deserves to fail.  Without compassion or empathy, faith only makes you a begrudging schemer, focused on what good the charity can do for you instead of for the poor.

Maybe that’s the kind of people Americans are, but I don’t think so.  Of course, that message would never get anyone elected.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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