“It’s bad enough that everybody coming into this courtroom has to walk underneath a banner that says: “Read Your Bible!” Your Honor, I want that sign taken down! Or else I want another one put up – just as big, just as big letters – saying “Read Your Darwin!”
“It certainly is.”
– Inherit the Wind, 1951
One of the most irritating, fatuous sort of accusations and complaints that gets flung at the police department is religious in nature.
Editor’s Note: Just so we’re clear, this is not about the merits of religion, my ideas on it, or your ideas on it. It is, as usual, about people behaving badly and thinking sloppily. So let’s leave the trollish commenting to the dunces who sit at home of an evening and rant on CNN stories and youtube videos, alright? Onward.
Humans, being what they are, seldom want to accept the effects of their actions. But I find it continuous funny that persons raised in religious traditions often try to use religion (which presumably is supposed to teach them some idea of philosophical, cosmic cause and effect) to get out of the consequences.
“I hope you read the Bible tonight and think about what you’ve done. God would be ashamed of you!” one gentleman tries to dodge arrest after we collar him for taking pictures up girls’ skirts.
“You can’t keep me away from my wife, God put me in charge of her,” an abusive husband foams at the mouth after we serve him a restraining order.
“Would Jesus write me this ticket?” another woman demands fiercely after being caught parking in a handicap area.
I’ve read the Bible (among other holy books of various traditions), and the whole first half of it is a pretty long list of rules and the assorted punishments and consequences that come from breaking them. Honestly, I suspect that if he’d thought of it, Moses might have made taking pictures up ladies’ skirts punishable, perhaps by a light stoning? And though I have not personally met him, I am absolutely positive that the Jesus of religious tradition would not have parked in a handicapped stall. Ever.
Throwing religion around as an excuse for bad behavior is certainly nothing new (hi, Crusades!), but I’m constantly perplexed by the petty ways people try to use it. Religion, boiled down to its very, very, bare bones, purely-behavioral-and-not-at-all-about-morality basics, is all about actions and consequences. If you are jerk in this life, you’ll come back in the next one as a mongoose. If you do not obey certain behavioral strictures, you will continue to be alienated from God and His chosen people. If you do not seek after enlightenment, you will never achieve nirvana. Etc.
Ergo, trying to use any values system that teaches cause and effect to dodge your earned consequences is bad logic. Stop it.