By a free country, I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbors, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like.
– Robert Cecil
This quote seems prescient of the discord and disarray plaguing the US today. Somehow, too many of US have gotten the idea that, if they can draw a big enough crowd, then they get to bully society into their own image. That’s not democracy. For example, the Constitution says we don’t have a state religion, but we’ve come close pretty often. And we’re headed back that way.
Which begs the question: Where do the pilgrims go next, seeking sanctuary from religious persecution, when we can’t find it here anymore?
I am by the grace of God a Christian man, by by acts a great sinner. [Link] But the arrogant and self-righteous right wing of America is practicing a variation of my religion with which I am not familiar.
Religion without belief doesn't make much sense to me. It's like water without wet. For me, the problem you are observing is really disbelief. Too many people want to wear the outer packaging of religion but they lack the faith of the 3rd step. "…humbly offer myself to thee, to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt…" So they wind up getting dragged along by gun toting gay-bashing, misogynistic haters. And haters hate. Jesus said "the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away."
My problem with religion — not just Christian or Muslim or Jewish — is the "belief" concept, the "faith" thing. Once one surrenders to such notions, certainly in matters so vital as one's outlook on life or the correctness of one's actions, all is permitted so long as a "belief" supports it. This, it seems to me, can cause a person–indeed a whole bunch of like-minded persons–to justify anything, including killing of others who don't share their beliefs. We humans, alone among creatures on this planet (so far as data suggests) have "beliefs" and looks where they've gotten us.