Soaring like an eagle on the gentle zephyrs of a Southside summer, it was as though an egotistical hot rod jet jockey appeared out of nowhere, flashed across my path, and sent me into a tailspin.
The president of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed forces ever assembled, the guy with his finger on the mother of all buttons informed me that I am a sinner. Yikes!
I had no idea.
Mind you, he didn't call me on the phone or send an email. He said categorically of the entire human race, "We are all sinners."
George, pal, buddy, don't you think you might be drifting a wee bit beyond the bailiwick assigned you by the Supreme Court?
I know you believe it as much as you are capable of forming an opinion about anything prior to input from your handlers or direction from public opinion polls. But perhaps a little "don't ask, don't tell" regarding your increasingly frightening religiosity may be in order.
(By the by, how ennobling it is for our country to have its president finally take responsibility for his State of the Union speech following the outcry of an American public appalled at its leader's refusal to accept responsibility. A moral beacon, indeed!)
But I digress.
Fully aware the application of critical thought to a faith-based assertion is illogical, I am nonetheless compelled to do so because I am fundamentally a thinking being.
"We are all sinners."
At some point in his life Bush is said to have had a religious epiphany. Following this his commitment of faith led him to accept he was born a sinner. As far as I'm concerned, that's his business n "don't ask, don't tell."
He made it my business when he, the president of the United States, proclaimed, "We are all sinners."
It is the nature of the faithful to believe whatever is presented as truth by their various shepherds but I am a citizen of the United States, not some sheep obliged by a commitment of faith to accept such an egregious proposition by a political leader.
In asserting I am a sinner Bush made it clear his rationality is subordinate to his religiosity. He believes that the religious cannon to which he is committed applies to me by virtue of his commitment. If Bush believes in demons (and it is entirely possible he does) does this mean I am actually subject to demonic possession?
This is dangerous stuff from a man with his responsibility. As Bush's worldview is admittedly faith based should we not tremble at the president's efforts to destroy the separation of church and state?
I have made no leap or commitment of faith. I repudiate the faith-based assertion there are immutable moral laws. There is no such thing as sin, original or otherwise.
As to why someone would acquiesce to such a position I cannot say, but as I am not out to convert anyone I feel comfortable asserting, "To each his own." Would that our president were clear-eyed enough to appreciate the rationality of this position.
Original sin is not innate to the human experience. Hence the need for a commitment of faith.
Bush's remark is as absurdly self-absorbed as the recent proclamation by the Vatican that, "No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman."
The relationship of original sin to the human spiritual experience is analogous to that of a social contract to the spontaneous chemistry responsible for enduring love. What human presumption, aside from the self-aggrandizing act of faith, might allow a rational man to assert that his commitment of faith renders his belief system applicable to all?
Nature tells us whom we love, not religious bureaucrats who represent but one of a multitude of religions whose manifold moralities are in turn collectively ignored by those whose spirituality dismisses the need for an act of faith altogether.
(While it is clear I support the right of all American citizens to partake of the rights and protections afforded by governmental licensing I urge those of us who would set America on a course determined by rationalism rather than religious presumptuousness and fanaticism to avoid getting sucked into this issue at this time. We must pick our battles wisely and being diverted by the same-sex marriage issue plays directly into the hands of the religious right and the Republican Party.)
America must have a president who bases his decisions on critical thought and not fantastical and arbitrary perspectives dependant upon a passionate act of faith for the illusion of coherence.
R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.