Spirituality, Religion & Politics
As a spiritual being, I have explored a multitude of established religions. I support every person's individual path to higher connection, believing the connection itself is paramount to the path one takes to get there. I can't imagine there is any one "right" way to find God or that every person's Universal Higher Power even needs to be labeled "God." If your higher power makes you feel loving, joyful, happy, harmonious, at peace, and full of faith in the benevolence of the Universe, then it seems to be what I call God. Your personal label for God does not interfere with my faith and connection, and it does not diminish your connection in my eyes.
I am mystified by religions that preach hatred, fear, and intolerance of others. I am unsettled by religious doctrine that tells me to love all of God's creations while asserting that some of God's creations are inherently "bad" by virtue of characteristics such as skin color, gender, or sexual orientation. How can a loving and perfect God create anything that is inherently "bad"?
Formalized religions allow individuals with similar beliefs to travel the same path to God-consciousness, providing fellowship and connection for like-minded individuals, a place for community worship, shared rituals, and other opportunities to deepen one's spiritual experience and connection. Religion was not intended to create divisiveness, animosity, hatred or ill-will towards one another. Although it has existed for centuries, religious supremacy is, in my opinion, an oxymoron. It is one of the primary reasons so many people left Europe and came to America: to escape religious persecution and have freedom. Indeed, the free exercise of religion is guaranteed under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"The Establishment Clause prohibits the federal, state or municipal establishment of an official religion or other preference for one religion over another, non-religion over religion, or religion over non-religion." Ronald Reagan expressed this point well when he stated that "the Constitution was not written to protect the people of this country from religious values; it was written to protect religious values from government tyranny." 
Yet, isn't this precisely what happens when politicians seek to impose their own religious beliefs onto everybody else in the country? My religion allows for same-sex marriage and the use of contraception, neither of which infringe upon the rights of anybody else in this country. Homosexuality is, according to all of the homosexuals I know, an inherent quality rather than a lifestyle choice, and nobody other than a homosexual is actually qualified to know this. Since all beings are created by God, and God makes nothing by mistake, God must have intended to create homosexuals. I believe that God loves all of us human beings equally. So why do some groups feel entitled to impose their religious restrictions and phobias regarding homosexuality and contraception onto those of us who do not share those same religious beliefs? And isn't it especially abhorrent that one of the most religious groups opposed to homosexuality is rampant with scandals involving homosexual pedophilia?
I prefer my own religious beliefs. I don't want to be forced to live by someone else's religious tenets, especially ones that induce fear and hatred and oppression. When I think of my own spiritual practice, I am filled with happiness, love, and a sense of deep abiding faith. Other people are entitled to their religious fear, hatred, intolerance, and self-proclaimed superiority and self-righteousness, but they do not have the right to foist those forms of negativity onto me or anyone else.
I am so grateful that my faith and my marriage are strong enough to survive different religions and lifestyles. Nobody else's marriage affects mine.
It's a terrible shame to waste vast human and financial resources attacking good people who are hurting no one - especially when there are so many horrific crimes occurring every day in this country, such as pedophilia, human trafficking and slavery, domestic violence, and a hundred other forms of human brutality. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those same energies and resources were actually spent making this world a better place instead of fostering more fear and hatred and oppression?