2014 in Review: Religion


The risk that the United States will become a theocracy, as some Christianists ardently desire, seems slightly lower in 2014. The recurring tide of religious zealotry seems to have peaked and may even be receding. Peering into the tea leaves:

Same-sex marriage, the target of the Latter Day Saints’ $20 million in direct contributions and an undisclosed amount in indirect contributions, all in support of California Prop. 8, outlawing gay marriage? The chickens came home to roost, and same sex marriage is now legal in Utah. Indeed, the decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals extends the ruling to a number of other states, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal means that Mormon’s exported homophobia was more than unsuccessful. Thirty-five states now recognize gay marriage. Only one trial court has ruled in favor of a ban, and that decision is expected to be reversed. Organized religion’s failed efforts to discriminate against LGBTs is the biggest religious news of 2014.

The Christianists’ efforts to advance creationism as science also failed on a number of fronts. The Ark Encounter, the latest pseudo-science boondoggle of con man Kenneth Ham just lost its public bonding; Ham’s creationist museum is in financial trouble, including declining attendees.

The claim by most religions, and certainly by most Chirstianists, is that religion is necessary for morality; that without the moral anchor of the Ten Commandments and the certainty of burning in Hell, we won’t be able to tell right from wrong. Torture is obscenely wrong; it’s one of the few things that mot nations have been able to agree upon. There are even international treaties. But study this bar chart from a December 2014 Washington Post/ABC poll:

atheists-torture

Can we be clear about this? The only Americans who by majority think the CIA torture was not justified are those who claim no religion. All those pious, church-going, God-fearing Americans, by overwhelming majorities, think the CIA’s torture of illegal detainees was perfectly fine.

Ah, the bitter taste of hypocrisy, rinsed down with the wormwood of sanctity. It’s too much to hope they all choke on it.

Religion in America in 2014? Simply appalling.

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