Tariq Butt: Religious Monday

June 25, 2013 

Religious Monday

Why do I, an atheist, regularly attend the Moral Monday protests? Because I consider myself to be moral and the issues I am protesting are issues of morality and fairness. Morality does not equate to religion.

However, with constant invocation of prayers and repeated references in almost every speech to “God” and “the lord,” I feel like I somehow get transported to a mega-church. At the most recent protest, there was a creepy addition to all that. A man on the stage asked protesters to donate money (not being told for what cause) to “show the Koch brothers” that we have money to match theirs. The man was trying to verbally whip the protesters into a frenzy, the way pastors cynically manipulate churchgoers. Intended or not, asking people to hold money up in the air, would have had the effect of embarrassing those who were not donating.

Two weeks ago, I witnessed two young Jewish men with yarmulkes being arrested in the rotunda surrounded by repeated invocations to Jesus.

Progressives and liberals are always decrying the encroachment of religion in state affairs when the Republicans do it. Why do I not hear any protest about this from them?

Tariq Butt


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