God Bless America. It is a phrase that you hear often, but I don’t think many of us really take time to think long and hard about it. For a country that is supposed to have a separation of church and state, there certainly are a lot of times where we invoke God’s blessings.
That’s as far as I got before choosing to check out http://www.andrewsullivan.com based on the fierce words he had for the host on REALTIME WITH BILL MAHER. After reading some of his work and still being moved by his words on REALTIME, I chose to write him an e-mail. I wound up writing a column instead. Since etiquette doesn’t forbid me from simply posting it here, I’ll do just that:
I don't always agree with what you say. I'm often too flabberghasted by seeing a gay man so forthrightly Republican that it might be hard to pay enough attention to what you're actually saying. For anything I may have missed, I apologize.
On Friday's show, though, you made all the sense in the world to me.
I have a genuine appreciation for Bill Maher's sense of humor and passion for all things politics. But his dismissal and hatred of faith borders on obscene. He seems to have a mad-on for people who have faith; and not just organized religion or those that try to force their faith on others. His criticism of Bush for seeming to be rushing to welcome the Day of Judgment is understandable (as in to say, it is fair to criticize a President for not focusing on ensuring another century or more of our country's existence). But to label the rest of America that has faith in a higher power as fools and idiots (and that is, to be sure, his least damning sentiments), is beyond the pale.
I'll be painfully honest with you: I'm anti-abortion and believe that homosexuality is a choice...and a sinful choice, at that. I love my God (I happen to call him Allah) more than my country...but the two are very close (sometimes closer than I'm comfortable with). We live in a democratic republic...and as long as we have some form of democracy (limited though it may be), we have to protect the rights of those that we disagree with. I believe it is called, "majority rules with minority rights," or something like that.
I am dead set against abortion. I would never suggest someone have it performed (except in the cases of incest, rape, and the mortal danger of the mother in giving birth). But...we live in a country where everyone should pretty much have the right to live their life how they choose, as long as they do not trespass on the rights of others in the process. Why should we even try?
This country has made it painfully obvious that you can't effectively legislate morality on to the lives of its citizens when it comes to things that happen behind closed doors. Abortions occurred before they were legal...but people were scared and ignorant...often paying for their ignorance with their lives. Sodomy has gone on despite laws having been on the books in most of America...and continuing to be on the books now in more of America than I'm comfortable with.
I think there are too many people that love God, but don't truly love their country. Oh...they think they do...but they're just infatuated with it. They love this land for what they see on the surface: prosperity, freedoms, rights, and a land where your dreams can actually come true (often, unfortunately, on a reality show).
But they don't try to dig deeper and really get to know their country. If they did, they'd realize America likes freedom for all, thinks we shouldn't pass judgment on what others do in their "pursuit of happiness", and is really tired of people using her. She's tired of being walked all over by people who want to take what they need but rarely give anything back in return: draft dodgers (sorry, Clinton), trust fund babies (sorry, Bush), or (in this case) taking for granted that you might be a member of the Anglican church (or dead in a ditch somewhere) for practicing your faith, if not for her (sorry, many members of the religious right).
Before I make this even wordier (while knowing you get a lot of mail), I'll sum it up:
- I hope that those who find morals to be an important issue for America spend more time leading by example, rather than trying to legislate it.
- I hope that more people hate the sin but love the sinner.
- I hope that Americans spend more time trying to find common ground, rather than picking up on the things we disagree on.
- Most importantly, I hope that more Americans realize how futile it is to attempt to legislate on these "wedge issues"...and wake up to the fact that they were used to distract them from the issues that can really be effected politically: government, taxes, wages, wars, security, economy, etc.
Thanks for listening, Andrew...and thanks more for talking. Get it into the REDheads and BLUEheads not to ridicule each other and increase the divide.
That’s all for now. Hope to have more soon.