We are living in two Americas at once. One is progressive where politicians and states move towards equality, same-sex marriage is becoming legal one state at a time, abortion rights move in favor of a woman’s choice, and marijuana is becoming legal making this victimless “crime” a crime no longer.
This is the America many of us dream of, a steady progression, or evolution of ideas and acceptance. It moves towards treating all people equal, giving them autonomy over their own bodies and removing stigmas from substances that have been proven to cause no harm.
Then we have America number two. This is the America that looks back at the 30s, 40s, and 50s and remember a different time. Not exactly historically accurate, but one they remember as a conservative utopia. Women did not have the rights they have now, minorities were told their place in society, and homosexuals were forced into their closets or faced severe persecution. A time when, thanks to the red scare, God was affirmed to be in charge of our country and specially blessed our nation for how pure we thought we were.
This America has states and politicians removing rights from women and making access to reproductive healthcare harder, if not purely impossible. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) has endorsed personhood bills that specify life begins at the moment of conception, making abortion murder, and therefor illegal.
In this America they amend their state constitutions (and for a while, the federal one too) to define marriage between one man and one women, making same-sex marriage illegal.
Or look over to Virginia, who tried to bring back an overturned law that outlawed sodomy and oral sex. A clear move to make it illegal for same-sex couples to have sex together.
This second America also fights tooth and nail to undo the secular educational system in this country in order to remove the secular history of our nation. It would rather retell a story that involves a Christian founding and then remove Charles Darwin from the science class and replace him with an Adam and Eve fairy tale.
This second America is America in reverse, and this second America holds back the progression of this country.
In this second America you can be fired for standing up against discrimination, or for siding with the minority, or for expressing your first amendment right of free speech.
And that is exactly what happened to former NFL punter Chris Kluwe.
Kluwe was a punter for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Kluwe also happens to be a very outspoken activist for same-sex rights in this country and was very excited to work with various anti-discrimination organizations to help spread this message.
Kluwe was told numerous times by the team to cut out the activism and had to endure homophobic, anti-gay comments from the teams coach, Mike Priefer, comments made because Priefer believed that homosexuality was a sin based on his religious beliefs.
In a recent interview on David Viviano’s “Atheist Hangouts”, Kluwe had this to say about his ex-coach's comments and religious beliefs:
“I think that might have been a factor in it because I know that especially with Christianity there is very much, you know, a lot of stuff in the Old Testament about, you know, stone the gays, don’t allow it, homosexuality is a sin, stuff like that,” Kluwe replied. “And it is really unfortunate because there is a lot of very nice people who are Christians who don’t believe that, but there are also a lot of very not nice people who are Christians who do believe that, and they give the other Christians a very bad name.”
Kluwe further spoke out against the rise of fundamentalism in this country:
“Fundamentalism is never a good thing in history,” he said. “Fundamentalism leads to really terrible things, and so my position has always been: I don’t have any problem whatsoever with religion, I have no problem whatsoever with whatever your beliefs are, all I care about are your actions. What do your actions say about you as a person? Because that is the only way any of us can ever judge each other.”
Kluwe even warned that America could be headed into a theocracy, something many other secular advocates have said themselves. Author CJ Werleman had this to say about the Christian rights desire for the future of America, writing for Alternet:
“The recent Values Voter Summit demonstrated that the likely 2016 GOP frontrunners have a base wish to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy — a nirvana absent gays, liberals, immigrants, Muslims and science books.”
This is the future of America unless secularists, atheists, and humanists get off our hands and take to the streets, take to the polls and start running for office.
It is no illusion it is nearly impossible for an atheist to get elected in this country, but as long as we are afraid to run, it’s even more impossible.
While we are arguing about the word God on a dollar bill, the religious right is dismantling secularism one brick at a time. They also know there are two Americas and like us, they want to destroy the foundation of the other. They want all same-sex marriage laws overturned and are fighting at the federal level to do so, they want all women’s rights removed and they are fighting at the federal level to do so.
So heed the warning of those like Chris Kluwe and CJ Werleman. Stand up for the oppressed in our nation, because if we do not act now, we will lose the fight and lose all the secular values that have the potential to turn this nation into the greatest and safest nation for all people, regardless of who you love or what reproductive organs you have and turn it into a Christian version of Iran.
Constitutional law will be removed and replaced with Biblical law, and if any of you have read the Bible, you know what a treat that is.
Dan Arel is a writer and author focusing on science, politics and religion. He is a contributing writer for the Richard Dawkins Foundation and blogs for the Huffington Post and Danthropology. You can contact Dan though his website www.danarel.com, follow him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter @danarel.
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