America…. God Or No God?

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So for perhaps the final This American Life we listen and respond to for DS106, I listened to the hour long show on Godless America, a thoughtful and entertaining segment, but unlike the others we have listened to so far in class. The show gave a closer look to the controversial divide of Church and State in our nation, the opposing arguments and cases for both sides, and the influences on our infrastructure, schools, politics etc.   Those in favor of making the United States a religious nation want Christianity embedded in everything, from the selection of judges, to science in classrooms. The segment shows us why anyone liked the idea of separation of church and state in the first place.

The first part really made me think of how, even though the nation isn’t considered a religious state, our faith seems to mend and add bias into the national media, and trickles down into society. Paul Williams, a city councilman in Janesville, Wisconsin, wants to make sure a Salvation Army built with public money doesn’t proselytize. Soon he’s getting attacked in the local press…and by President Bush. He’s got the freedom of speech, but his anti-religious comments stir so much controversy. A Georgia teacher finds that by teaching what she’s supposed to teach — evolution—she turns her school against her. This is the case in other places around the country as well, and it really makes you think the extent to which we base our opinions, decisions and actions on faith, religion and our beliefs. Those who are non-religious, athiest and sorts and looked down upon and turned against when they say what they have to say.

Now I come from a devout and strong Muslim background, and so we do take into consideration what our religion would want us to do in any situation, but at the same time its not right to cloud our judgement of other people because they may not believe in the same ideals or in the same God. I just think there should be a fine line drawn between the separation of Church and State in America, where it can be the best of both worlds, but that expecting too much. This issue has been a problem since the forefathers found this nation, and continues to havoc the reflections of people based on their beliefs today.

As for the radio show, in Act One,  we hear a quick rundown of all the ways that Christian conservatives are making headway in advancing their values as public policy, why they think total separation of church and state is not what the founding fathers intended. And why they’re wrong. Both sides and their advocates brought up good points, and defended their side well, but the whole dilemma is just frustrating… its just one of those issues.

I thought the story in Act Two was compelling and an attention-grabber. Julia’s Sweeney experience through this, and her questioning and cracking down on her religion made for intriguing content. Her references to Hitler was interesting and the moment when she thought about the idea of death, and the life after, and her brother were the highlight of the show. Now her conclusion is one I don’t agree with, and she was nitpicky about what she wanted to believe and what she didn’t but nonetheless her story was very interesting. This episode might have been the second best I’ve listened to, and proves that there is still much to change about our society and nation as a whole, and these problems will plague us until we find an efficient solution. Great Job to Ira and the crew, another good production!


2 Responses to “America…. God Or No God?”

  1. Aqsa Says:

    Nice Post Zarar. Yes, I Do Think Today’s Episode Was Definitely Good. I Liked It Alot Better Than The Last One. I Definitely Agree With You, There Should Be A Fine Line Between Church And State, But Sadly, It Probably Won’t Happen. Maybe One Day.

  2. Palaver Says:

    My sense of the argument in favor of increased religious expression in American life is that those who are in favor of it see themselves as part of a Christian majority who want to see increased public expression of Christianity –not necessarily increased public expression of other religions. I am wondering if you, as a Muslim, see the issue in the same way that you do now, as concerns America, when you consider the same issues as they relate to majority Muslim countries or Buddhist countries, for that matter.

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