Author Emily Dietle
My focus is on state-church separation & social issues. I'm an avid reader, and feel that one of our most valuable tools is the free movement of information and ideas. | @emilyhasbooks
Late last year, I commented on an article at Raw Story that covered the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Dan Barker’s appearance on a Fox Business show. Today, I discovered a very well-written comment from one Kyle Dohring @BuncyTheFrog and wanted to share it with you all. Enjoy-
Fox Business boots atheist for ‘denigrating’ Christ (via Raw Story ) Fox Business host Eric Bolling invited an atheist to express his views on Christmas Monday — and then promptly kicked him off the show for doing so. Last week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) asked the Texas town of Athens to remove a nativity scene …
Dan is not an adherent to Christianity- so who cares if he defames the Christian god? Why would Jesus, part of the omnipotent trinity, need defending? Religious adherents defame each others religious head figures regularly, what was the host expecting from a non-Christian invited on his show, to respect his beliefs? Why would a non-adherent give esteem or value to something they don’t believe in? No matter one’s personal beliefs, FFRF’s stance stands- religious displays on government property are anti-Constitutional.
This is not a theocracy, and our government (small town or large) should not be representing itself as a particular religion. Keeping state & church as separate, as un-entangled entities protects each institution.
Do you want to open up the grounds to the 4200+ religions that exist in this world? Even if you only included the ones with the most adherents, you’re still left with needing displays for: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shinto, Unitarian Universalist, Wiccan/Pagan, Spiritualist, Native American Religion, Baha’i, Sikhism, Taoist, Eckankar, Nonbelievers… and all the varying sects & denominations therein.
Imagine keeping rules in place that would hold one religion above all of the rest, what happens to the religion in power, when the population swells with people of another religion and they are in charge? Well, then your religion becomes the minority, and you are marginalized. It’s unfair, and to be fair- the government must be neutral.
There is a big difference between Atheism and Secularization. The goal here is to not push Atheism on people, it’s to push neutrality on people. Emily up there cuts to the core of the issue; let’s assume you’re some denomination of Christianity for this:
In ten years, let’s say that Muslim immigration/indoctrination is effective enough in replacing the umbrella of “Christianity” as the majority religion. Throughout the nation, towns and municipalities are represented by a majority of Islamic beliefs. They begin to put up displays of their religion prominently in public spaces while ignoring similar requests from non-Muslims such as yourself.
So you do one of three things:
1) You live with the reality that your religion is always going to be marginalized until you’re back to being a majority, which may never happen (especially if you’re say a Buddhist). You silently (or maybe not) wonder if the government cares about non-Muslims and their issues at all
2) You push for the right to have your religious displays up in public space, under the argument that “they get it, we should get it too”
3) You realize that choice #2 can be a huge hassle to deal with (who’s to say that Jane’s portrayal of the Buddha won’t upset Fred, who insists that he looks a different way/is displaying different Mudra? How is the city council supposed to decide what’s appropriate or right? And don’t get me started on Protestants and Catholics), and instead insist that it is up to people to celebrate their religion on their own property and leave your city neutral on the matter.
And if you actually ARE a Christian, step back for a second and think. What would it be like to not be part of a privileged religion in your country (assuming you live in the US)? What would it feel like to see a Christmas tree and sweeping rhetoric about Jesus and seeing a pasture when you walk by your town hall… You’d feel marginalized, small, like you don’t matter. When some huge event rolls around in your religion, there’s nothing. No public celebration. You matter even less now.
THIS is what secularization is fighting against. Exclusion, in-groups. Privileged positions based on something that should not and does not define someone’s worth. Secularization is fair to everyone. The problem is that people such as yourself often confuse this idea of a “secular state” with an “Atheist state,” when that’s really not the case. The idea is not to squash religions. The idea is to put the responsibility of personal belief back in the people’s hands to be used as they wish, and to put everyone on an equal plane with respect to religion, so a Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Christian, Atheist, Wiccan, Mormon, etc can stand side by side in public space and feel equal, because in the eyes of that space, the only things it sees are seven people.