Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran Proves the Need for Separation of Church and State

It's both sad and thrilling to see developments in Iran.

Sad, because the theocracy that Iranians brought upon themselves in 1979 is still trying to bully them back to the 8th century.

Thrilling because, well, look at what the people are doing despite the incredible dangers to themselves and their families. And imagine the courage it's taking to do that. (It's especially amazing to Americans given how placidly we accepted the stolen elections of 2000 and 2004).

I hope Iran finds its way out of oppression and religious dominance. Whether or not the bulk of people there choose to remain Muslim is a lot less important than the fact that giving clerics final say (or any say) in running a country is a recipe for disaster.

Religion is all about control. Worse, it's about dehumanizing opponents in order to coerce them. Richard Dawkins says that you need religion for good people to do bad things. That's really at the foot-soldier level - we're seeing pretty clearly how evil and corrupt are the people at the top.

And we very nearly let it happen in the US. Margaret Atwood said that she wouldn't have been able to write The Handmaid's Tale recently because it's "too possible".

Here's wishing peace, enlightenment, and freedom to the people of Iran. They have suffered way too long, for 25 years under a dictator we helped to install, and for another 30 under an oppressive theocracy. They are proving to the world that they deserve better, and I hope they finally achieve it.


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