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The Daily Tar Heel

Religious Right In America --Time to Leave

But, lo and behold our "War" worked, or at least the first stage. The Taliban has essentially been rooted out, and a "coalition" government is developing. Or is it?

That's not my point, so let's just assume Afghanistan will be the next bastion of democracy and hope. Right.

What we do know is that since the religious right -- the Taliban -- has fallen in Afghanistan, the papers and television shows have been filled with images of liberated men and women, shaving their long beards, uncloaking, playing soccer, listening to radios, dancing and just plain being people again.

Bottom line. The religious, oppressive Right falls in an ailing country, and people are liberated -- super.

Guess what, people: The very same should happen in the United States. That's right, it's time we root out the "religious right" here at home.

As soon as we're tired of banding together and crushing people who aren't ruled by Judeo-Christian values, the religious right will go right back to its oppressive agenda -- anti-gay sentiment, prayer in the classrooms, teaching the Bible as literal history, refusing to teach sexual education, you know the deal.

Fundamentalists already blow up buildings and kill doctors who perform abortions.

They want to cover up Britney Spears and teach intelligent design theory (which if you don't know is a just the newest craze in getting God into classrooms across America and putting Charles Darwin in the same category as J.J. Thompson's "plum pudding" model).

OK. So we've got a group of people that wants to cover women up, teach one set of beliefs, reject tolerance and have us listen to Tim McGraw.

Anyways, this sounds like the freaking Taliban to me (minus the country music) -- the American Taliban.

I'm even willing to disregard the financial corruption/influence the religious right has in America and abroad. I'm willing to look past the fact that Pat Robertson is in the diamond business with Charles Taylor, maybe the worst dictator in the world, based out of Liberia.

It's the religious right's agenda and jaded perspective that does the most damage.

For instance, there has been a great deal of noise made about Jerry Falwell's comments after Sept. 11, and rightfully so. On Sept. 13, Falwell went on TV preacher Pat Robertson's "700 Club" program to discuss the terrorist attacks. Falwell blamed the events on judges who uphold church-state separation, abortion rights activists, gay people, civil liberties activists and others who are "trying to secularize America."

He later apologized, but I think you get the point.

If you look around the world, you'll find that very few (if any) developed countries are as religious as the United States -- it's not a factor.

Madison, Hamilton and Jay knew that without the separation of church and state, Pat Robertson would be Mullah Omar. Jerry Falwell would be Osama bin Laden. Tinky Winky, he'd be an overbearing Boy Scout troop leader.

I can deal with religion, but it has no place in governance. When religion takes over government policy, it can be unethical and intellectually stifling and bring a thriving culture to a pathetic limp.

Look at it this way. The broad coalition doesn't want to replace the Taliban with another religiously motivated government.

It would be unfair to Afghans in the same way that rewarding the religious right in America with political clout is criminal.

It's unfortunate that so many turn to spiritual leaders for guidance when the message offered is far from what their religions had in mind. The hypocrisy is well documented and not worth getting into.

People need to stop arguing with the religious right in this country, give them the finger and move on. The Southern Baptists need to dance, drink and show some skin. Sure it's called heresy by some, but it's called life by others.

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Josh Baylin is willing to compromise his religious dearth for the right woman. He'll be Greek Orthodox if you've got the right stuff. E-mail him at jbaylin@email.unc.edu.

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