I have no problem with people believing whatever batshit crazy stuff they want to believe, I have no problem with people following whatever batshit crazy religion they want to follow. But I object most strongly, if their insane beliefs influence daft actions that affect me. And this is seen most strongly, when religion exerts undue influence on government. This is what is known as "theocracy".
The barbaric practices of Saudi Arabia are repugnant, but at least they don't affect me. Female genital mutilation is terrible, and should be stopped, but at least this doesn't affect me. I get more exercised when some idiotic religious idea, impinges on me.
So what prompted this rant? Ben Carson.
There's two main contenders for the Republican presidential American president; Trump (a kind of Alan Sugar but with the sweetness removed) and Carson. And there's two main contenders for Democrat; Sanders and Clinton.
When you look at the polls just now, you'll see that given a choice between Carson and Clinton, the electorate prefers Carson. And given a choice between Carson and Sanders, the electorate prefers Carson.
And if you look at the polls for Republican candidate, it's neck and neck between Trump and Carson. This means that, if you believe the polls, Carson is a very strong contender.
He's a Seventh Day Adventist; he's been baptised into that faith twice. He's a commited Adventist, so it's useful to look at their beliefs.
The most noticable of these, is that they take Saturday as being the day of rest. That's a fairly sensible thing to do - after all, it's one of the Ten Commandments, and I have a lot of difficulty understanding why Christians that are very keen on the Ten Commandments, totally ignore the one about the Sabbath.
As a whole, the Adventists seem to me to be no worse than most other religions. But Carson goes further.
He's anti-abortion, including for cases of incest or rape.
He doesn't believe in human-caused climate change.
He doesn't believe in evolution
He's against gay marriage, and believes that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice.
He thinks that the pyramids were grain silos, not tombs for kings.
He said that he was offered "a full scholarship to West Point"; he now admits that wasn't true.
Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery.
The problem is, his deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs, cannot be swayed by evidence, or by the opinions of experts who know more than he does in a field.
By profession, he's a neurosurgeon, and he's good at what he does. But to be a president, you have to take advice from people who know a lot more than you do in various fields, and Carson has demonstrated that where these experts contradict his particular interpretation of the bible, the bible wins.
So which of these four would I vote for, in the unlikely event that I were to be forcibly made into a US citizen? Well, someone recently said to me "It's a turd buffet."
Fortunately, I don't have to partake.
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