Tuesday, 6 May 2008

The thing that protects us all: freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

When God is removed from the courtroom, what's left is not atheism, but an impressive array of philosophies that contribute to secular law. Whether religious people like it or not, our laws didn't come chiefly from religious inspiration. They are derived from our innate inhumanity towards our fellowman. That inhumanity is suggested by the fact that our ancestors fled their countries to escape religious intolerance, only to become intolerant once they had the power here.

When a Christan evangelical claime, "Everyone else's rights are upheld but the Evangelical Christians." I find that to be an interesting and disturbing artifact of the inherent division long seen among Christians. What about the rights of Christians who don't subscribe to evangelism? (There are 18 million evangelicals in the U.S. Most are white, conservative and republican.)

The separation of church and state was meant to do exactly that: Separate church and state. It was meant to protect everyone by assuring us that any one religion will never impose itself on all Americans. There may be a majority of Christians in this country, but constitutionally this is not a Christian country. People of all faiths and no faith are protected from theocracy, good or bad. The American truth, in broad daylight, is that any theocratic overlord is bad government.

Religious people who condemn atheism are ignoring the real inferno: themselves. How long can they so brutally oppose one another before they understand that they are their worst enemy? And, the more they clamor to entangle church with state, the more they stoke the fires of religious bigotry?

I'm not fooled by the seemingly ecumenical camaraderie between Christians any more than I am fooled by the, sometimes, peaceful state between Judeo, Christian, and Muslim adherents. What they have bequeathed us in the past several thousand years is a continuing horror and legacy of infighting. Those battles spill over into the lives of the innocent and the uninterested.

Perhaps 'National Day of Prayer' participants should be less concerned with "spiritual wickedness" and more concerned with preserving the very thing that protects us all: freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

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