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Texas and Mississippi, Sitting in a Tree P-R-A-Y-I-N-G

March 12, 2010

When Christopher Hitchens gave interviews upon the release of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, he was invariably asked if he indeed meant everything.   How could religion insinuate itself on delicious eggs and sausage? (Ask a Jew.)  Surely religion doesn’t have beef with humans on the moon. (Ask a Hindu, though “beef” might not be the best choice of words to describe her gripe.)

There is no topic too great for religion to make confident and uninformed pronouncements on it.  There is nothing too picayune for religion’s obnoxious know-it-all judgment. 

Yesterday, I wrote about 2 places in which religion is having a deleterious effect on the workings of public schools.  Social conservatives are so terrified of the deism of Thomas Jefferson and other Enlightenment figures that they removed Jefferson and the Enlightenment from world history standards.  Their religion is powerful enough to motivate them to redact history.

No one is surprised that Mississippi is the site of a high school prom cancelled to prevent a lesbian from having a fun night alongside her peers.  If there is a secular argument for such rank intolerance, I’m all ears.  Until one comes along (I won’t hold my breath), we can assume that this is a case of religion poisoning a public high school prom.  In 2010.  In the United States of America.

Religion is pernicious, there’s no two ways about it.  We need not travel to Kabul to learn that lesson.  Hitchens was right: religion poisons everything.  The punchline is that not one of them has a privileged description of  reality; they make people do shitty things for nothing’s sake.

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