A day of reckoning

On May 1, Rhode Islanders were treated to a full dose of disingenuousness by the Governor. On that day there were two dueling proclamations: one, a “Day of Prayer” and the other, a “Day of Reason.” Citizens were reminded  to pray if they believed in God, while at the same time the day recognized atheism, the school of thought that there is no God. The whole set-up was a ridiculous example of pandering, which actually insults the folks who subscribe to either thinking.
The real question is this: Where does the government get off telling anyone what to think or do on a personal matter like religious belief, or the lack thereof? For believers, do you really need the State of Rhode Island to remind you to pray? If you are an atheist, do you need any encouragement from the executive branch?  Government should butt out of making any pronouncements and get down to the business of creating jobs in Rhode Island. This practice of promulgating proclamations is a sleight of hand which diverts attention from the dismal record of job creation and all the other problems plaguing the state.
This latest episode is just one more example of “feel good” activities that are meaningless. Each holiday season, eruptions ensue over the placement of a Christmas tree and a Menorah at the State House. In order to avoid the appearance that the State is sponsoring a religion, public places also must accept pagan symbols. Somehow, the public is supposed to be edified by the placement of a crèche under the nose of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.  Such a gaudy display trivializes any religious meaning.
So, why do some clamor for such public displays? How many folks who jawbone about the lack of a stable scene at Christmas actually have one in their homes?  Do families actually take time to discuss with children the underlying meaning of religious celebrations? Or do they just use the holiday as a chance to get the latest smart phone?
I, for one, blanch when politicians invoke the Deity. I can’t help but think that they are using the invocation to “prove” how “tight” they are with a heavenly being. They make it look as though God is a republican or a democrat or, at least, on the candidate’s side.
You have known, of course, since the time you were a tyke, that actions speak louder than words. Acting righteously, regardless of belief, should take precedence over mumblings of sentiment. People of depth don’t need to wear their convictions on their sleeves. By their actions you shall now them.
So, how about a moratorium on all these public displays implemented by the government? Leave it up to the private sector. Leave it up to family. As for the treatment accorded to non-believers, how about ceasing to excoriate them? Finally, how about a touch of humility on either side, by recognizing that there’s a lot to know and experience by exchanging points of view without defensiveness or hubris. All of us might just learn something from somebody with a different point of view.


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