I believe that religious groups are given way too much political power and importance in our society.
My belief was originally sparked by the fact that for most of my childhood, I lived next door to a frequent churchgoer that would always urge us to go to these ridiculous community meetings that had little to do with community problems and more to do with theocratic activism. Not surprisingly, he was also the president our community.
Growing up, religion always held much influence in the community that I lived in. Many of these community meetings that we attended always had heavy Christian themes to it. We would go just to humor the others. All the adults really talked about were the religious-political issues of America. It was there that I first heard of Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition. Listening in on the adult’s conversation, I managed to get a feel for who this Pat was. They praised his views concerning homosexuality and how it could possible cause hurricanes, bombings, earthquakes and possible a meteor. Now this would sound ridiculous and irrational to you, but Robertson stood as a serious candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President in 1988 and has garnered more than three million volunteers (in fact, several of them lived in the community regularly attended these meetings). Gary Potter, President of Catholics for Christian Political Action, was also frequently brought up. From what I heard, Potter openly advocated a theocracy in which there would be no rights for gays and satanic churches (which were the unbelievers) would be destroyed. They regularly discussed what would happen when the Christian Majority would take control; they talked about disallowing the practice of evil. Now, I perceived evil as hurting someone or publicly causing chaos, but “evil” to them meant private actions that didn’t hurt anyone, but simply were not to the community’s liking. No one at these meetings felt that these views were wrong or restricted other’s rights. And these people were not really bad people; they were your average mothers, fathers and workers. They were just influenced by televangelists seeking converts
My family stopped going to these meetings after two or three times. But these meetings had a large impact on my view of how people can also sincerely believe in these terrible people like Robertson and Potter. Ultimately, I feel that there needs to not only be restraints put on these political preachers but the state and church separation should be emphasized more.