God’s Relevance to Me as an Atheist in the Context of U.S. Politics

I wish with all my heart that god was irrelevant on planet earth. However, it is impossible to watch the news and still be able to say that god is irrelevant in the here and now. Differences in god beliefs are responsible for many of the present bloody conflicts, especially in the Middle East. The major conflicts are easy to identify. There are, however, many more subtle incursions into our lives in the name of god.

God and Religion in Congress

Conflicting news reports inform me that there are either no atheists in the US Congress or there are up to 28 or so atheists. Whichever is true, I will deal with the Congress as if there are no member atheists. By professing a belief in god and religion, the members of Congress have an obligation to adhere to certain moral principles professed by Christianity. If they do not adhere to these principles, then they are hypocrites.

According to this Huffington Post article, there are no professed atheists in Congress. But, according to other sources, there are 28 secret atheists in Congress. Apparently, those who run for public office must hide their atheism to be elected. So what does that leave us? It leaves the majority of Congress professing affiliation with some religious group, most of which are Christian, and another small group of people who lie about what they are.

It is my understanding that the Christian Bible admonishes followers to take care of the poor and elderly. The Jewish people were ordered not to harvest the edges of their fields but to leave those crops for the poor. Provisions were made in their writings outlining the care of the poor and elderly. Jewish tradition for taking care of their own less fortunate people continues to this day. I may not agree with the notion that a god told them to do this, but I do agree with the outcome–being kind to the needy in their communities. As Christians have adopted the Jewish writings in the Bible as their own, the same rules regarding the less fortunate should apply to them.

Hard Times in America

We are all aware of the current economic situation in the United States. Unemployment rates are high. Jobs are scarce or non-existent. Many people are underemployed, working minimum wage jobs that won’t pay all the bills. Even college graduates are having difficulty finding work. Poverty rates for all age groups in 2012 was 16.0%. That means millions of people are going without essential services or food. Congress should be aware of these statistics. It’s part of their job to know. And it is their job to act on behalf of the people of this nation – all the people of the nation.

One would expect that with the majority of Congress professing a belief in god/religion these people would be concerned with the welfare of the least of their constituents. They would see to it that there is shelter, food, and medical care available to all. However, this is not the reality. Both Democrats and Republicans favor fixing the deficit problems in the USA by cutting essential services to the poor.

Response of Congress to Needy

Take first the Affordable Care Act that was passed by Congress and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. I receive email updates from my representatives, who happen to be Republicans. Living in Kansas there seems to be no choice but Republican in the political realm. In the communications which I receive, the constant theme for many months has been an update on how the Republicans are making efforts to end the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. These good, Christian representatives don’t want to see any form of assistance given to those who could not get health care before the Affordable Care Act. They’ve whined and schemed and held the Federal government hostage in their efforts to end this step forward in taking care of the health needs of citizens. I see universal care for America as the optimal solution, and even though I voice my opinion to my representatives, I’m brushed away like an annoying fly.

Where is the Christian morality that should exist among these representatives? They are paid an outrageous amount of money for the positions they hold and they are provided with the best health care. Why is it that they don’t want at least basic health care for millions who were not eligible or were too poor to purchase it prior to the Health Care Act?

I know how expensive health care is. Fortunately, I have coverage through my husband’s job. A few years back, though, I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Thankfully, insurance did pay for the majority of the medical expenses. However, what insurance did not pay practically wiped out our retirement savings. It seems to me that someone without insurance and diagnosed with the same condition as I, would have no choice but to resign themselves to dying because of the cost. I don’t think they keep statistics on the number of people who forgo medical treatment for life threatening illnesses due to lack of funds. Maybe that is something that should be done. Most likely though, even with statistics, I’m pretty sure the political leaders would maintain their current policy of wanting to destroy the Health Care Act.

Concept of God and Religion Used by Elected Officials

Those good old politicians who proclaim a belief in god and Christian values make me tremble at their hypocrisy. The religious public is told what they want to hear – that this politician is a good person who believes in god and goes to church. I’m not sure what they tell the corporations they beg money from. Their words to the rich may not be what they feed to the masses. For the general public, they use god to get elected and then leave him outside on the steps of Congress. The only ones they are really concerned with is themselves and their wealthy benefactors. They and theirs are taken care of – so the rest of the citizens are free to die of their diseases.

These same politicians take a similar attitude toward seeing that the less fortunate have adequate nutrition. Cuts are being enacted, and others proposed, to cut funding for the SNAP program, which is meant to take care of nutritional needs for the poor and elderly. Stipulations have been put in place that restrict more and more people from receiving this help. Many states follow the federal guidelines which state that any able bodied person between the ages of 18 and 49 must work 20 hours per week to be accepted into the program, and that they may remain on the program for three months out of every 36. You may think that this sounds fair, requiring able bodied persons to work. But with jobs scarce and no great outlook for enough jobs in the near future, how is this fair? Food pantries and soup kitchens are already taxed due to the number of unemployed. Will the churches pick up the slack? I don’t think so. Their funds are used in constructing elaborate edifices to impress their parishioners and attract followers, or to fight abortion, or to influence politicians. Where are the poor to turn? It would be futile to contact their god fearing representatives in this matter as they are the ones who voted for the cuts in the first place.

To sum up, we are faced with self-proclaimed god-fearing, religion-believing representatives who are not god-fearing in any sense of the word. These people cater to the rich as the rich provide them money to help keep their jobs. They really should be honest and say “In the rich we trust,” instead of “in god we trust.” But if they took off the mask of religion, people might see that they are selfish, duplicitous, and have a downright ugly attitude toward the less fortunate in this country. I’m so thankful not to be a part of their delusion.

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