Transforming Apathy

ApathyFollowing on my last message about transforming the energy in Egypt, it occurs to me that the underlying cause of what is happening is a conflict over whether religion and government should mix. We in America should be so very grateful that the framers of the Constitution saw the inherent danger and decided that Church and State should be kept apart.

Apparently what happened in Egypt was that one fascist dictator was overthrown, albeit by democratic means, by a fascist organization that was hell bent on making it a one-party Islamic state. The military and the secularists said, “No” to that, clumsily it has to be admitted, and ousted that government before it had gone too far in making it so.

So much of the Middle East is mired in bloody war over this issue, bedeviled by the drive to make Islam a form of government instead of a matter of personal devotion. But this is nothing new. History is so littered with wars of the same making that you have to wonder whether the late Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the book, “God Is Not Great,” had it right in saying that religion of all stripes has always been and will always be a force for evil in the world. When people use religious belief to justify their evil behavior, as the zealots of all religions, including Christianity, are prone to do, you can see his point.

But the lesson in all this for Americans is to stay vigilant against those who keep pushing for religion in schools, local government, and everywhere else they want to impose it, including our own bedrooms. Combining the two, even in subtle ways, is a recipe for endless conflict and should be resisted at all costs.

The other sobering thought for Americans is that President Morsi got elected with 51% of the vote with a turnout of around 40%. The ones who were most motivated to go out and vote got what they wanted, even if they were in fact the minority.

These figures are more or less the same as in America, even for presidential elections. Voting apathy, combined with a profound distrust of the fairness of the voting system, has its dangers as we can now plainly see in the case of Egypt. It has also been amply demonstrated in primary elections in America, where only the people with extreme agendas come out to vote for an extremist candidate running for office.

I can’t help thinking the Australians have it right when they say everyone must vote by law. At least then you can’t complain if you get what you didn’t want, which is what happened in Egypt.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts

7 thoughts on “Transforming Apathy

  1. Fay

    Colin, I am very happy that you are one person who sees the danger in fanatical religious zealots and it doesn’t matter which religion they belong, Jews, Christians, Muslims or whatever! They cause a lot of trouble and are not really interested in forgiveness and understanding – I pray to the God of my understanding , the higher power, that he grant power to people like you who are teaching us understand and forgiveness.

    I agree that the law should make everyone able to vote. Then the radical minorities would not be able to get power by democratic means – and maybe democracy will survive! America should not be supporting the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood!

    Best wishes for your future success,
    Fay from Israel

  2. Sherry

    NZ get it right always. The last time Australia elected their priminister it was an insude cabinet vit – not a peoples vote. They ‘got rid of’ Julia Guilliard’. The real election commences now in less then 10 days.

  3. Mark

    You have it correct, Colin. Some evangelical Christians in our USA see or want the USA government and its military to advance their version of Christianity as a matter of policy. THAT could not be more wrong-headed. We need unpolluted-from-religion secular policy and direction. Tainting government policy or action with any religion-advancing appearance only weakens us.

  4. Shayla Wright

    I am really appreciating your work in the world and your writing these days.
    I love that you really care, but with great intelligence
    Thanks for this post


  5. Kim

    Requiring people to vote will not solve the problem. Some religions don’t even allow their members to vote. Fixing apathy would help. Keeping church separate from our government was important and I hope it stays that way.

  6. Rev. Beverly Craig

    I’m in total agreement that religion and government remain separate; however, I’m somewhat conflicted when two or three people in an otherwise Christian community object to prayer before a meeting or public gathering and make a major issue of the fact. My spin on this is the highest good for the highest number. Every religion has it’s fanatics.

    1. katelizt

      This is such a slippery slope. The constitution was intended to protect the rights of the few against the tyranny of the many. If not everyone in a public forum believes that prayer is for their highest good, then it is inappropriate, and presumably you’re talking about a public forum that isn’t about religion. How does making a small number of people uncomfortable add to public discourse? Everyone should have the right to participate in our public life, the life of the State, if you will, without being subjected to anyone’s particular religious belief. The very phrase “otherwise Christian community” indicates that non-Christians likely feel excluded. Unless we’re now going to check everyone’s religion card at the door of every public forum, it’s better to leave the praying in churches and homes.

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