The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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 by Laramie Boyd
Musical Religion
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        The first lady to become Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who served under President Bill Clinton, recently made a bold statement. She claimed, " I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian and found out later I was Jewish. I stand ready to register as a Muslim." I wonder what this statement of "musical chairs" with religion is what it claims to be.
        Musical chairs, as you may recall, is where there are chairs in a circle, and one more child than there are chairs walk around the chairs while some form of music is played. When the music stops, all the children hurry to find a vacant chair. And there is always one child left standing, the one who didn't find an empty chair to sit in. I wonder if Madeleine may be left without a religion after her promise. There are certain requirements to becoming a member of a religious group, and I wonder if Ms. Albright fulfilled and will fill those requirements, as she implied. Let's highlight the major steps she would have had to have gone through to have changed religions so many times.
        To become a Catholic you must have been baptized in the Catholic Church. I assume Albright meant by "I was raised Catholic...", that she was baptized in a Catholic Church, and there is a long list of to-dos and forms of worship deemed necessary to be an "observing" Catholic. The behavior and beliefs of Catholics are very well known nowadays, from believing in the Pope, confession, the sacraments, views on marriage and divorce, and a long list of requirements to being a practicing Catholic.
        Gordon Atkinson stated that it must be a "shocking counter-culture" decision to go from being a Catholic to becoming an Episcopalian. For Episcopalians are not "bound together by shared theological questions". Each church member "is able to think for themselves, to wrestle with doubt and questions of faith, and to arrive at conclusions which may be different than those of other church members". Episcopalian converts must make a formal commitment confirmed by a bishop of the church and attend confirmation classes to be considered a member of that church. These beliefs are a far cry from Catholic teachings.
Following the Jewish faith is said to be making a "significant and life-changing" decision. To do this one needs to study long and hard, then drop all other religious beliefs, especially belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, and accept the Jewish definitions of right and wrong, and of "confession", "heaven" and "savior", and a myriad of other rules and laws and behavior on eating, dress and life style. When Ms. Albright realized she was Jewish, did she fall in line with these requirements, or just say the words, "I am Jewish?"
        So now Ms. Albright says she is ready to register as a Muslim. I presume she meant to say "convert" to Islam. I don't believe you "register" in a religion as you do to vote and have a choice of voting or not. You have to become one. Her knee-jerk reaction obviously is due to President Donald Trumps proposed restrictions and ban on Muslins. Does she really know what becoming a Muslim entails in terms of the religious connotations and observances this move would require? A move "not to be made lightly, devoting a life guided by Islamic principles", as one observer remarked. She would have to make a sincere declaration of faith in Islam, then all sin prior to the declaration would be "erased". She would have to believe that Allah is the "only" God, and Mohammed his prophet, requiring reading the Quran, the Book of Islam, and attending Mosque, the equivalent of a church, for instruction. Muslims believe in angels, an afterlife of either Heaven or Hell, and predestination, and dress code is restricted. Be honest, Madeleine. Will we see you kneeling in a Mosque? You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but.....
        Another thing Madeleine, is a choice of a religion just some decision you make on a whim? If it doesn't meet with your personality or agenda or isn't politically correct, do you simply wish it away? Is the fact that you disagree with Donald Trump's ideology any reason to join a particular faith, regardless of which one, rather than a belief that that faith is the best for you and your personal connection to a God? That's a mockery of religion, that you can change your church affiliation and belief in the tenets of a faith based on someone else's divergent stance on some issue, rather than on a deep conviction that it is what will make you a better person in the eyes of whatever or whoever you believe is your God. Your readiness to say you will join Islam reminds me of the recent celebrities who vowed to move to another country if Donald trump was elected. That list includes Al Sharpton, Cher, Miley Cyrus, Samuel Jasckson, Whoopie Goldberg, and others. Wanna bet they recant? Wanna bet you don't join Islam? Americans, raise your left hand if you would miss any of these "stars."
       Shall we see you in a Mosque soon, Ms. Albright? In the distance, I hear alibis and "I was only kidding" excuses. As for the rest of us who may be taking a "wait and see" approach to Donald Trumps tenure, even though we may not agree with his first week's docket, lets "stand up for the flag and ring the liberty bell." And let's let these "rich and famous" celebs who do not appreciate the election system in the U.S.A. and the rights and privileges connected to them, get in the short line to get a flight to elsewhere. By the way, Madeleine, our system of free elections and peaceful passing of power has lasted longer than in any other country in recorded history. You might just miss us when you're gone.