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...Who Can Stand Against Us?! ...Who Can Stand Against Us?!
by Leah Sellers
2012-10-25 11:00:07
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In the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas, in the small town of Kountze, there is a Religious Battle rattlin' Right along.
As in most Battles, one side wins and one side loses, but in this Battle it is indeed possible that all sides have Lost.

A temporary Victory was given to a group of Cheerleaders allowing them to continue to display Bible Verses on Banners they Create for Public School football games for the remainder of this season.
This inauspicious decision was made by a judge appointed by Governor Rick Perry last year, and was announced one day after Texas' Governor Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott visited Judge Stephen Thomas in defense of the unhappy Cheerleaders and their local Supporters.
It appears that the East Texas School District had the audacity to have rules against mixing religion with secular Public School events.  Go figure !
In fact, Attorney General Greg Abbott says that the"...decision is an important victory for the Cheerleaders' 'Freedom of Religion'."
Really ? Whatever happened to the Separation of Church and State which Balances America's overall Social Systems, and was Created to help Protect All Americans (including Texans) from Religious Battles, Discriminatory, Pugilistic and Punitive Inquisitions, False and Fatal Witch Hunts...etc. How quickly the Lessons of History are Forgotten or simply glossed over by Political Agendas and Power Grabs.
Where is the Wisdom of the Ages in Our State Leaders and the Adults regarding the Mis-Gided Actions of these Innocent and Well Intentioned Cheerleaders ?
One of the largest Banners created by the Cheerleaders reads, "If God is For Us Who can Be Against Us".
Would Judge Abbott's ruling have been the same if the sign had read :
If Allah is For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
If Buddha is For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
If Krishna is For Us Who can Be Against ?
If Mother Mary is For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
If Gaia us For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
If Agnosticism is For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
If Atheism is For Us Who can Be Against Us ?
Hmmm....It's doubtful.
Folks, God (no matter what monicker you may Choose to identify Him/Her with) does not Prefer one Football Team over another. It's a Game some Humans enjoy Playing and/or Watching (or Cheering) that probably gives Him/Her an occasional Cosmological Chuckle or Hiccup from time to time. But nothing more (or less).
This is In Your Face religion during a Time of In Your Face politics, and for the most part it leads to Talk To The Hand Attitudes, Actions and Re-Actions.
Perhaps it would be Illuminating to look toward the Primary Earthly/Heavenly Role Model of Christianity - Jesus Christ, HimSelf.  Particularly if We allow OurSelves to cast Our Mind’s Eye toward the geographical location of Mount Calvary.
Let Us EnVision three crosses, and home in on the center cross bearing the tortured and bloody Body of Christ.  “Father Forgive them…….”
Let Us Imagine what must be Forgiven, and what Christ continues to Love - no matter what.
Let Us draw Our Attention to the Human Beings nailing Christ’s Hands and Feet to the Cross.  They are Loved and Forgiven.  The Human Being shoving the thorny Crown of shame and humiliation down upon Christ’s Head.  He is Loved and Forgiven.  The Roman Soldier plunging his spear into the side of Christ.  He is Loved and Forgiven.  The heckling Crowd of Humans filled with friends and foes, Disciples and those He had healed denouncing their Knowledge and/or Acquaintanceship with Christ.  They are Loved and Forgiven.  The crucified Thieves on both sides of Christ.  They are Loved and Forgiven.  The Loneliness,
Excruciating Pain, Abandonment, Betrayal, Dejection and shear Hopelessness - (“Father why have You Forsaken Me ?”) felt and experienced by Christ and those who genuinely Loved Him.  They are All Loved and Forgiven.
We are All God's Children. We are All Loved.  All Forgiven. We are All supposed to Be Vessels of that Cosmological Divine Love and finely tuned Sense of Mercy, and are supposed to Pour that Cosmologically Divine Love and Mercy upon the Lives - the Minds, Hearts and Souls of Others every moment of every Day. Even Our opponents.
Kountze Cheerleaders and Supporters Cheerleading the Cheerleaders, please, Ask yourselves (after Freely opening your Bibles and Freely reading the New Testament once again) what would Christ have you Freely Do ? Therein lies the Answer to this Game Playing dilemma, and therein lies The Rub (or is that the Robe of Freeing Humility and Sacrifice, Recognition and Acknowledgment of the Chosen and/or Potential Divinity, Beauty and Greatness within Us All.  The feckless, betraying, mean spirited and destructive lowliness within Us All ).
Christ Saw It All.  Experienced it All.  And still We were and are Loved and Forgiven.
If We are All Loved and All Forgiven then Who can Be Against Us ? 
OurSelves ?  Our worst Angels ?
Isn't Freedom of Religion, Equality, Liberty and Fairness for and toward All
grand ?!
A Grand Experiment to Be Grandly Revered.

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Emanuel Paparella2012-10-25 12:42:09
Indeed Leah, freedom of religion is the other side of the coin of separation of Church and State and the operating word there is “freedom” without which there is no ethical life, as Kant has well taught us. A religion that takes away freedom descends into cultism and inquisitorial trials. On the other hand, the voice of religion belongs in the public agora of public opinion with all the other voices such as those of agnosticism and atheism.

Those who would muzzle the voice of religion in the public agora or perhaps relegate it to one hour in Church or Synagogue or Mosque on Sunday or Saturday or Friday are just as bigoted and misguided, in my opinion, as those who would set up a theocracy and burn the witches to save their souls…or restrict freedom of speech and thought.

Come to think of it, we have recently seen that sad scenario played out in the very pages of Ovi magazine, a magazine which, to its credit is a gracious host to all opinions and points of view, no matter how distasteful some of its writers and readers may find them. Some unfortunately come to the agora of public opinion with the misguided agenda of selling “enlightenment” to those who, in their opinion, are retrograde living in medieval times and live in the cave of obscurantist regressive religion. When they find resistance and push-back to that misguided notion they proceed to display intolerance and even become nasty and insulting resorting to arguments ad hominem against religion itself and those who consider it a value. That is why it is now necessary to monitor the comment section thus complicating the work of the editors of the magazine.

It would have been preferable by far if the comment section could have been used freely and instantaniously without monitoring for insults and intolerance. The lesson therein is that such concealed intolerance parading as freedom of thought and love of progress paradoxically leads to less, not more freedom; that is to say, the abuse of freedom leads to less, not more freedom albeit the injunction of Thomas Aquinas also stands: the abuse does not take away the use.

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