After watching MSNBC for the last three years because of my growing distrust of getting anything sensible from mainstream media sources due to their continued use of datum that is easily refuted, it has been a growing concern of mine that the whole idea of "family values" have been hijacked by the "far evangelical right". What is even more of a concern is that these folks that profess to be inspired by "faith" and "religious compassion" turn out to be nothing more than "used care salesmen of faith".
Let me backtrack a bit here because I REALLY don't want to be misunderstood by my family and friends who are devout practioners of faith. I think that you are being sold a bill of goods and you are confusing someone professing to be devout as being someone who stands for good. religious extremism is not the basis on which this country was founded. In fact, the country was founded in large part because of the religious intolerance that was commonplace in England. The founding fathers idea was that religion was a personal choice and should not be involved in government so much so that our landmark documents decree that there should be a separation between church and state. Granted most of the religious differences were those based upon Christian sects but there was no provision listed for excluding the practice of any religion. namely, you could worship as you wished and with the understanding that our country isn't a theocracy.
I was brough up Presbyterian.... Mom made us go to church for a while but we sort of fell out of it as a family. In all honesty, there wasn't one sermon, moment or memory that stayed with me throughout my youth that has stayed with me to these days after my time spent in the pews. My Bible School and Bible Camp experiences were tear enduring exercises due to my youthful naivete, which were enabled by Mom and Dad thru their moral and ethical notions of never being afraid of telling the truth. The reason that these experiences were so painful is that I never "saw God". Jesus did not touch me and due to my admittance that I did not "feel". I was then ostrasized because I never felt that "special calming touch or awe in his prescence or a sense of peace with myself". Maybe I was and still am defective. I don't know.
Since that time, I will freely admit that I have never been religious nor even curious about finding a spiritual comfort of turning myself and my troubles over to a higher power. I do believe that there are people who do have faith and that it is a powerful force for them and does provide them with comfort and direction in their lives. I freely acknowledge that there are many churches that provide comfort to the sick, a helping hand to the poor and aide to our elderly. Some go so far as to help educate our children, provide care to youngsters whose parents work and in some cases, aide to the downtrodden, be they here legally or not. On the whole, I believe that without religion, a tremendous underpinning of support in our society today would be sorely missing. The thing is, I'm not talking about those people.
What bothers me the most are those folks like Mr. Robertson and elected officials like Ms. Foxx and Ms. Bachmann and Senator Ensign and Govenor Sandford and those who pull their strings. These folks appear to have "religious agendas" of intolerance. They also seem to be imbued with a sense of do as I say, not as I do that I find to be incredibly hypocritical. In my brief time in church, I always thought that one of the main foundations of Christianity was to show tolerance of others. To lead by example of living a good life and being an example to others, in addition to the belief that one should "judge not, lest thou be judged". Most notably are these gentlemen associated with "the Family" who profess christian beliefs but are committing adultery, falsifying address information to live tax free, paying off former mistresses in order to make "the problem go away". I'm not saying that a man is not fallible, but it seems obtuse not to recognize that these are the same guys who railed so forcefully about the president should have resigned over his affair but when they commit the same crime feel that maybe that isn't the best idea after all. What I find most galling is the implication that if you don't stand with them then YOU aren't being a good christian.
It's getting to the point where I'm not sure which is worse, the duplicity of the "Christian Fundalmentalists" or the "Muslim" ones.