I have been thinking a lot about it lately. It is hard not to when you see the direction the world is taking.
Religion is great when it creates a compassionate community that records and celebrates human rites of passage. It is also helpful when it provides a sense of peace and well-being in the lives of individuals. Religion was used to a tremendous effect by Dr. Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement or farther back in the Abolitionist movement.
Much like all human institutions and inventions, religion can be a positive force or a negative force. Sadly, there seems to be more misery and ill effects from religion these days. More people are taking what is beautiful about their belief system and skewing it to exclude, divide, and treat their fellow human beings as lesser peoples. In this country, "Christians" are actively working to single out a group of citizens for unequal treatment under our laws by excluding gays and lesbians from marriage and adoption. It is un-american and immoral, since it is immoral to ask one group of citizens to suffer a law that you yourself would chafe under. These "Christians" want to re-institute a culture of shame in our society and give birth to extremists like Rev. Phelps who protest at vets funerals saying that they deserve to die because their country tolerates gays. Crazy immoral!
Sure, the first settlers were crazy witch-burning puritans, but can't we evolve? Oh, wait. They don't believe in evolution! (that is another post)
In other parts of the world religion is used to keep down and abuse women, kill innocents, and carve out territories to fight over.
To the folks who use their religion to hurt, exclude, and generally being a prick, you do not bring honor to your religion and you are a toxic presence in the world. If there is to be shame in the world, the shame should be reserved for these people. Mind your own business! Spend the time taking care of your own spiritual journey and leave the rest of us alone.
Persons of faith are under the obligation to speak out and fight against those who do dishonor to their religion.