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On Tuesday, November 6, America re-elected incumbent President Barack Obama for another four years. They also elected Tammy Baldwin (D) of Wisconsin as the first openly gay senator in the US. Missouri rejected legitimate rape enthusiast Congressman Todd Akin (R) as Claire McCaskill (D) retained her senate seat. Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren (D) unseated Catholic Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

Marriage equality was explicitly backed by the voting public for the first time in history by Maine, Maryland, and Washington State. Voters in Minnesota rejected a measure that would have prohibited same-sex marriage in their state.

Washington state and Colorado became the first to legalize recreational marijuana use, while Massachusetts voted to legalize the drug for medical use. Physician assisted suicide was only narrowly defeated in Massachusetts, paving the way for another vote likely to legalize the measure during the next election cycle.

In the past, partisan organizations including Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage have swayed public opinion while pastors such as the now-deceased Jerry Farwell used academic institutions to enshrine bigotry in adult students. Televangelists like Billy Graham echoed calls of repentance to the mass public, even while most attended religious ceremonies on a regular basis. Abortion and homosexuality were regularly decried as ungodly at public venues with little pushback from all but the most atavistic.

Now, a typical Sunday sermon on TV is delivered by a religious non-entity like Pastor Joel Osteen, a motivational speaker who’s never met a sinner for whom he wouldn’t be happy to sign a book. Leading ex-gay groups have been forced to recant their notions of salvation from homosexuality, essentially telling gays their only real option is to just deal with it. Recent poll numbers show a dropping religiosity in America, along with a declining number of citizens who adhere to their churches’ official doctrine even when they attend.

The Democratic Party attempted to cut god and pro-Israel language from their platform, a gutsy move they rescinded in the heat of the election. America’s response to the kerfuffle: Electing the religiously antagonistic Barack Obama over a devout Mormon, rejecting multiple far-right religious Senate candidates and upholding abortion rights’ defenders in their place, and embracing progressive social policies about LGBT citizens and marijuana across the nation.

This isn’t a one-off shift in cultural tone toward a single issue, rather a sweeping referendum on a new system of ethics being embraced by this generation. What was just ten years ago considered a quaint morality is now openly derided as ignorant and bigoted. As the world becomes a community and information can be accessed at the touch of a button, the insularity of the past is being replaced with an accessible global knowledge base for the future.

It seems the citizens of the United States of America have outgrown the god they quite obviously stopped fearing. In the debate between reason and religion, reason is leaping ahead for the first time in history. America has finally decided to stop waiting for god to bless the USA and shown him the door. For the oppressed at the hands of the religious, all to be said is, "Good riddance."

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2012-11-08 10:32:00

    Another great read Chris! I hit the ’recommend ’ button but took it off of my fb page. Not because I regret doing it, but because I don’t want to start any family fights!I will email it to those that I KNOW will enjoy it as to not offend those that won’t


  • Anonymous, 2012-11-09 17:11:26

    As an Episcopal priest, I have a slightly different perspective overall, but I agree on two points. First, I celebrate the progress of marriage equality, the preservation of women’s reproductive rights, the provisions legalizing marijuana (especially for medical use), the reelection of Obama, and the retention of the Senate by the Democrats. Second, I agree that the outcome of the election was not a good from the perspective of Joel Olsteen, Billy Graham, James Dobson, the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and others comprising the religious right.However, for me, the election was not a rejection of my religious values, but an affirmation of them. I believe that inclusivity and tolerance are in the tradition and example of Jesus and the gospel he proclaimed, as our Episcopal General Conventions have often affirmed. So too are the quests for socioeconomic justice and world peace. The religious right does not speak for all religious people, and religion and reason are not mutually exclusive.


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