There is no free in liberty.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Is this Really the Meaning of Secular?


Just as it easier for politicians to rely on debt to fund all manner of wants and needs to avoid the difficult messiness of weighing those needs against available funds, it is easier for governance to increasingly push religion to the periphery of society rather than do the difficult task of managing the disparate demands of various religions, to exclude religion rather than to include religion in our ideal of a democracy.

Neither our politician's lazy dependence on debt nor our politician's exclusion of religion result in positive outcomes for our nation.

The Telegraph:
Praying in the streets of Paris is against the law starting Friday, after the interior minister warned that police will use force if Muslims, and those of any other faith, disobey the new rule to keep the French capital's public spaces secular.
Is this really the proper use of the term "secular"?The above use of "secular" is based on deliberate exclusion and is therefore more akin to atheism. It would be more correct to say "...to keep the French capital's public spaces atheistic."

We in America are guilty of this use of "secular" as well.

If there are theocratic governments in which a single religion holds sway over governance and there are atheocratic governments in which religion is persecuted and deliberately erased from the population, then what falls between? What is a government that adopts no particular religion yet includes all religious opinion in the governance of the citizenry? Historically this is the form of government American governance has taken and historically this was called secularism.

However, America has followed France in drifting from this melting pot approach toward religion and governance toward something less democratic. Each nation has shifted away from the democratic notion of the electorate fully informing governance and embraced the undemocratic notion of selectively choosing those groups that are no longer allowed to inform governance and each have done so via an evolving definition of "secularism".

It is not secularist to actively eschew all religion; that is the realm of atheism. And that is where we find ourselves today; with atheists in control of our public spaces and with atheism at levers of governance the religious will one day find themselves in an America much like the France of today, unable to pray on public street corners and increasingly forced from public view, eventually themselves isolated in their homes like the Soviets of thirty years ago or the Koreans today. Persecution is the way of atheocratic states.

It is sad that we do not deny atheists their bastardization of the the term "secular".


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