Leigh Pomeroy's Easter piece in Minnesota Monitor more or less began:
Religion has come under much derision of late for being the impetus of bigotry and hate, repression and violence, suicide bombings and 9/11 — even the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
But religion has above all its positive side, and many good people do wonderful things in the name of their beliefs.
Some of my occasional readers may place me in the derider camp, with my little Easter celebration of Zach Johnson's Masters golf victory as the most recent exhibit. [For a different secular Easter meditation, here's Ghosts of Easters Past, from the days when I was happy to have 20 readers and the weather was nice on March 27th.]
I rarely write about the other side Pomeroy mentions, because the religious world is not part of my daily experience, and because I believe that acting as a decent human being carries greater moral authority if the behavior isn't motivated by command of a Supreme Being. And, I believe, it is possible to recognize good in the world without imputing it to your ever-hovering Imaginary Friend, who would disappoint you in the end were it possible for dead people to feel disappointment.
But religion has
above all its positive side, and many good people do wonderful things in the name of their beliefs.
Pomeroy calls out a number of worthy organizations, the first of them Heifer International. Coincidentally, one week I spent with Heifer was responsible for more time in church for non-wedding and -funeral purposes than I have spent in the last three decades — and if I ever were to become churchgoing, it would be with people like them. I suspect they were active in their church because of who they were, and not vice versa.
However, these were New England Congregational churches and may not count.
And I don't hate Jesus,but then he'd already know that, wouldn't he?