I've received more than a few comments regarding a statement in my most recent article that read (taken horribly out of context): "... I generally disdain organized religion ..."
Because of popular demand, I've written a brief explanation of the statement that, hopefully, will help those understand where I'm coming from.
Yes, it might seem like an ironic statement in the flow of the article. But it was written to make a point. I was hoping it goes to show that even if one is cynical about a certain institution, like I am regarding religion, that doesn't excuse the ridiculing of a person who subscribes to that belief system. The beauty of this country is that we are all free to worship (or to not worship) pretty much as we please. And that should be respected.
As for a little personal background that might help to explain the comment further, it isn't so much that I am against organized religion per se. That's painting with too broad a brush, something I try not to do and something that I really abhor. (Yes, that's a mea culpa.)
Religious groups do a lot of good in this world, and religious groups are some of the world's leaders in reaching out to the poor, comforting the sick, reaching for social justice. (If you must know, I was raised, Baptized, and Confirmed as a Catholic and have a big predisposition toward Liberation Theology).
But I have come to be skeptical of many organized religious groups (and people who call themselves religious) because I feel in many cases religion and faith have been hijacked in this country to achieve political purposes that are often in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus, who is the best role model I know of in terms of social justice and in teaching people how to be good to one another.
Religion and faith are personal, private, and deeply important. However, the politicization of religion in this country denigrates that sacredness and turns it into something to be exploited by the likes of Karl Rove. And that I truly do disdain.