I suppose the Catholic side of me is starting to reconcile with my left-leaning side. Or maybe not. At least they’re talking. Without swords or invocations of deities against the infidels.

I appreciate prayer. I might not partake, but I appreciate its purpose, its comfort, its existence. I agree that prayer should not be denied to those who wish it. But neither should it be forced upon those who do not want it.

It’s kind of hard with religion (particularly the more fundamentalist Christian types) and government both contributing greatly to the 4-H program. It would be nice to do one or the other, but so many of our members are devout that it’s quite the issue sometimes. I suppose there should be another massive rules/legalese/education push within the program. It’s hard to word it appropriately, though. Can’t deny the right to pray, but can’t force it on others. It’s not a terrible problem for smaller clubs, especially those in very devout communities. It’s the larger events that pose issues. Particularly the devotionals before meals and assemblies, especially at large gatherings like conferences. While it is the majority opinion, the minority also feels just as strongly.

Can we just have a policy that religion and deities cannot be invoked over the microphone or behind the lectern? A moment of reflection would be perfectly admissible, I think. It would give those so inclined the chance to pray, while allowing those who find it offensive to politely ignore the issue. Tolerance does not mean putting them all down equally. *sigh*

My inner Catholic and my inner “other” don’t get along so well. This is a tough issue for them. So, kids, sit down, have yer moment of reflection (pious or otherwise) and get to the food. No shouts of “What the hell was that?” or “My god can beat up your god” or “Pater noster” but an amiable silence. Or at least, an indifferent silence. No rage or misunderstanding. Just the chance to do your own thing in the privacy of your own head.

Of course, there will always be that one person or table (or ten or fifteen) that wishes to say Grace or something similar. I suppose there should be something agreed upon beforehand: you’re free to do it with your friends, but do not impose it upon others. So keep it subdued and among the few of you, I guess.

It’d solve some consistency/fairness issues if there were an official state religion, but of course it’d create some others. Like constitutionality and tolerance. I don’t believe that the Ten Commandments in their biblical format belong in governmental buildings. By the same token, neither does the figure of Justice or the swearing upon the Bible. There are so many issues just with the version of the Bible – King James, New American, Vulgate, Gideon… *sigh* We pride ourselves on our religious tolerance, but it’s still far from ideal. Far enough that there’s still vast room for improvement.

Even I’m not entirely clear on what I believe. Far be it from me to impose my personal faith on anyone else – but I do expect the same courtesy of others.

I suppose I shouldn’t expect to solve all the world’s problems in a 5-minute rant. After all, it’s a debate that’s lasted over 2,000 years with the current players, and many millennia more with the older players.

Or maybe we need King Solomon’s decision and Alexander’s swordstroke through the Gordian knot – divide it all down the middle. Equal dissatisfaction is the true compromise, right?

Go on you two. Finish your turkey.

~ by jackelopette on March 25, 2004.

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