Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heathens Is Fine

Even with our constitutional division of church and state, we get a lot of God talk in these pompous, circumstantial, governmental events. If a politician didn't end a major speech with, "...and God bless the United States of America," it would probably be politically sacrilegious, or sacrepoligious, as the kids call it today.

So it wasn't surprising that Jesus got a lot of mention, particularly during the Rick Warren invocation, when he hit us with Jesus in several languages, just to make sure that even the immigrant population understood just whom he was invoking.

Our new president (who is black!) is a Christian, so I'm not going to hold it against Reverend Rick (the friendly face of hate!) for calling upon the Christ (the King of the Jews!) in front of the diverse crowd (more than million!).

But our new president (who is black!) also speaks highly of inclusion, and as he hit the part in his speech that listed off the major religious groups (Christian! Jewish! Muslim! Hindu!), it was both surprising and refreshing to hear our new president (who is black!) include "non-believers."

I prefer the term heathens, but many older non-believers aren't ready to embrace that term, sort of like how many older members of the LGBT, etc. community don't care much for embracing queer as a catch-all for a very diverse population.

The fact is we don't have a good term for the heathen crowd, something that can include atheists and agnostics, humanists and moral relativists, ethicists and the anti-religious. Although non-believers is a good try, it's very difficult to define a group by what is not; non-belief implies there are no beliefs, which just isn't the case.

Heathens is inclusive of all those groups, and hell, it can even include anyone who's deemed to be "religiously other" in the eyes of exclusive religions.

I figure that over time we'd have nothing but a nation of heathens. We are one!

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At 11:31 AM , Anonymous DebraK said...

I liked that "non-believers" were included - but that seemed like the wrong term to me. Anything wrong with the word "atheists"??? Or saying something like "whatever you believe you are included" Well at least he got the dialogue going. Heathens - well - that term might be too tempting - who doesn't wanna be a heathen! ;)

At 8:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the crowd went WILD when he said non-believers. in a good way. it got the most reaction. not sure if you could hear it on tv, but everyone that was there was very happy with his inclusion of and choice of wording to acknowledge non-believers.


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