God and Government: Rev. Barry Lynn’s Career Protecting Church/State Separation
God and Government: Rev. Barry Lynn’s Career Protecting Church/State Separation

God and Government: Rev. Barry Lynn’s Career Protecting Church/State Separation

 Barry Lynn once admitted, although I doubt it, with heavy heart that “the Reverend Jerry Falwell doesn’t like me.” Barry Lynn was as mean-spirited and caustic as he could manage, but oh my! How incisive and informative he can be in defending and advocating church/state seperation. This book is timely. It is crucial at this point in our nation’s history. “God and government” shows, as well as the other landmark books by Hitchens and Harris, that secularists are fighting a Right Wing ISIS of mind religionists. Their passions go well beyond denigrating evolution, science and climate change. They are determined to keep what they have and claim that we were made by this country’s founders as a Christian nation.

 

 If it weren’t for Barry Lynn, and others like him, we might already be such a society.

 

 For decades, Mr. Lynn was the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He has been a wonderful and inspiring person I have had the pleasure of hearing. I refer to him as the Reverend intentionally – I don’t like to use the “Reverend” prefix he earned and never misused. I avoid mixing religious titles such as “Father”, Your Excellence, Your Holiness and Your Eminence.” However, if Mr. Lynn requested it, I would make an exception for him and other heroes with clergy credentials. I am still flexible. I like Sir Barry Lynn, The Most Right Honable and Highly Esteemed Sir.

 

 Like millions, I enjoy Mr. Lynn’s articles as well as his numerous media interviews and appearances before Congressional Committees. (His account of an encounter with a Texas Republican Congressman, Louis B. Gohmert is hilarious.

 

 Lynn is a lawyer and minister to the United Church of Christ. This background is a huge boost to his effectiveness with Christians and other people who still respect religion, despite all the superstitions and deviant behavior displayed by religious leaders.

Real Wellness and Religion

 

 Liberty is key to REAL wellness. Separation of church and government helps maintain our secular democracy. This is especially important when the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the Protestant Religious Right are trying to create a Christian nation. Although I agree with most Christian leaders that an American theocracy is desirable, it is not often expressed publicly. Unfortunately, America is already a theocracy to some degree. We are given the words “In God We Trust” in our money, in courtrooms and in the Pledge. There are also huge tax exemptions for religious beliefs. Barry Lynn is one of the most important secularists in America. He tirelessly works tirelessly to keep Americans united in church and government and has succeeded, but only barely.

Why Religion And REAL Wellness Are Not Compatible

 Two distinct approaches to thinking are Reason, Religion, and the “R” in REAL Wellness. One relies on revelation (i.e. assertions about it), while the other relies on critical thinking, evidence, and an objective search to understand reality. Religion is not compatible with democracy, freedom and human rights; it does not mix well with joy, happiness, wellbeing orgasms, or any other state that secularists who seek well-being for the mind or body, as well as quality of life pathways. The opposite of reason is religion. The religious authorities demand that all faithful submit their wills and wishes to a higher power, whose interpretation they are able to interpret. They insist on belief in religious dogmas, adherence and respect for rituals from the rest society that does not have or seeks any part of them. They believe in “faith”, which is a virtue that requires belief in what you don’t know. This, according to Mark Twain, implies that there is no evidence or other rational basis. These life-affirming, reason based democratic principles such as those found in the U.N.’s “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “Affirmations of Humanism,” are not applicable to religions.

 There is no relationship between the “A” and exercise or nutrition, but the “E” and “L” dimensions of exuberance and freedom are incompatible with the toxic effects of religion. It seems perfectly acceptable and even necessary for real wellness enthusiasts to discuss religion when describing the dynamics of living a healthy, happy, and meaningful life that is guided by reason and freedom that encourages exuberance.

 

 Barry Lynn’s “God and Governance” could thus be and I believe is a truly wellness-worthy publication. It doesn’t take a history major to see that religions are not open to accepting any of the three dimensions.

 Prometheus Books published Mr. Lynn’s new work. It contains ten chapters. These are a mixture of columns, testimony, and speeches that he has given over the span of nearly two decades. There are extensive notes (references), and an index. The author recounts hundreds of his encounters with Religious Right theocracy-promoting activist with humor and wit. These sections dealing with critical issues of church/state are my favorites.

 

  Prayer at school and elsewhere

 

  Taxpayer-subsidized vouchers for religious schools.

 

  Incorporating religious beliefs in the public sector (e.g. preventing end-of life choices, encouraging censorship, etc.

 

  Legislators can impose religious beliefs into law and policy policies.

 

  Opposition to science, evolution and broader concepts.

 

  Proselytizing by including religious content in public education curricula.

 

  The military, the courts system and the local governments are all influenced by religion.

 

  Tax preferences for clergy; subsidies for chaplains, etc.

 

  Clerics of the criminal order.

 

  During the fight for church and state, encounters with both “nice” people and “strange”.

 

  These are descriptions of historical events that have shaped the current standoff to prevent the loss of our freedom “from” religious belief.

 

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