Religion today is our greatest enemy and the most divisive corrosive element known to a free society. America should be a magnet for those of the world wishing and dreaming of throwing off the shackles of organized religious terrorism.
The moment religious dogma becomes rule of law we then are lowered to the level of a totalitarian Nazism...
The Jesus of the bible claims he will make us free, yet the Jesus of religion today is reinterpreted by fundamental conservatives and transformed into nothing more than a holy war monger. These strict fundamentalist have turned the name Jesus into a mantra for this cause of shoving the cross down everyone's throats. The mixture of Roman hostility with Christianity is not what the Christian writers expected to come of their efforts.
Jesus said he came to turn children against their parents... It is time that these religions collectively fail and fall to the side for a loose form of liberal cultural tolerance and unity instead. Time to bury the cross and and these hateful books of "chosen people", "aliens" and "infidel" division, social inequality and strife for a better more harmonious way. We need to as a collective whole resurrect and fly high the flag of modern consciousness spurred on by the the age of science and reason.
I have lived with Jesus as the center piece of my own religious fervor for many years. Yet the way Jesus has been transformed into this mascot of right wing hate makes me seriously consider becoming a Buddhist though I have already adopted agnosticism. I have considered also Judaism and Islam but they all adhere to the same old testament fables and as time goes on in my life the OT has become a book of imaginations and not factual "truth".
So what if the stories though not factual teach a moral... I learn more from a story like that of Matthew Shepherd and it is actually true. Matthew Shepherd is the champion of my own ethical imperative. I feel it is more relevant today than even Jesus... Suffer the little children. If people would learn tolerance and acceptance toward gays then I feel they will find harmony with most other facets of their lives.
What you say is obviously inspired by genuine kindness and a want for good things to become of this country. That is all I want, as well. However, do you feel that siding with anyone is a good thing at this interval? Being a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or even Taoist will only divide you from some and join you with others. Agnosticism is a nice generality which is accepted by most, and I have found that more people will listen to the words of an agnostic than a religious person or an atheist.
Furthermore, I understand the pain that religion has caused so many people. Matthew Shepherd's story was a tragedy, though many good things came of the aftermath. Unfortunately, not enough good came to abolish all the hateful people. The Westboro Baptist Church is among some of the worst moral offenders in history. However, I believe there is still hope that these people will become an unwelcome minority. My father always said that what he liked most about the gay community (he grew up in Manhattan) was their ability to stick together and take care of one another. The love of a community far outweighs the tyranny of the hateful few.
As for "a loose form of liberal cultural tolerance, etc" I don't see this as exactly the right direction. As much as it pains me to say, it is true that hate will always exist and that some level of personal freedom to be hateful needs to exist. That is something I love about this country, and it is something the Founding Fathers kept in mind as they wrote the Constitution and associated documents. The word "slavery" does not even appear in the Constitution for, even though they owned slaves, they did not want to bar the inevitable freeing of this race of people from occurring. We need the freedom to change the rules, but both sides have to be heard. I feel there is a happy medium to be met, not too far to the left or to the right. Have guns, surely. Have capitalism and many small businesses (because that is what capitalism means, not a few big businesses) and, of course, don't let the government take away our personal freedoms with things like the Patriot Act. However, give gay people the right to marry. Give us health care the same as we get public safety and public education. And, for crying out loud, remember that there IS a separation of church and state.
Did you check out the Texas Curriculum?
Stay happy and hopeful,