Feb 27Liked by Penfist

While this essay focuses upon religion as an institution contorted into serving the egos and limitations of man, I'd point to other institutions that are equally troublesome (certainly in the US): the Constitution and unbridled capitalism.

Americans are stridently protective of the 1st Amendment, which has fairly limited exceptions to what can be stated or published. Our free speech is so broad that there is a chance that a proven propaganda network could potentially escape defamation liability for non-stop broadcasting of 2020 election lies. The case will likely succeed or settle, but it's a rare case where broad impunity among Fox executives, producers, and anchors implicated them by their own words.

The EU countries have substantially greater limitations on the propagation of lies re public health, elections, hate speech, etc. As a consequence, we see far more stable democracies in the EU vs the US. But suggesting changes to the 1st Amendment is widely considered blasphemy.

The bastardization of the 2nd Amendment, the insanity of Scotus judges appointed for life terms with no code of ethics or accountability, the woefully ineffective Electoral College, unrestrained federalism which permits states to limit or eliminate basic civil rights, the lack of any qualifications (even background checks) to serve in Congress, etc.

Where a government exists, corruption follows, but the US government has no real checks and balances as we've seen. Impeachment is basically an empty word. The DOJ was corrupted by Barr and neutered by Garland.

Unrestrained capitalism (yet another near religion in the US) has destroyed industry after industry: healthcare, transportation, agriculture, textiles. Workers are disposable, the few safety regulations teeter on a knife's edge, the environment has been polluted beyond measure, global warming is too advanced to be stopped.

I don't hold out hope that either the Constitution or capitalism can be reformed before they fully destroy our democracy.

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I think that the phrase “intolerance of intolerance” is very apt and it is a good guiding light for life. However, in my own life, I draw the line at ignoring honorifics. I am an ex-Catholic, partly because I am aware of the terrible abuses, especially here in Canada, propagated under its protective umbrella. However I feel inclined to respect any priest as a matter of practice. Therefore I have no difficulty addressing him as “Father”. And I am endlessly curious about the fountainhood of his faith. So I’m quite willing to ask questions if we get into a discussion with a sense of humility. I’ve met more priests than not who are in that role out of a deep sense of faith. Refusing to call such a person “Father” feels like it would diminish me as a person who strives to be courteous. Now if the priest is antagonistic or prejudiced or haughty, then I will just avoid talking to him.

I make a very small point here. I am quite in agreement with the range of valid points you made.

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