Via Wildlink comes the Institute for Liberal Values (NZ)’s position on church and state separation.
First, we must define what we mean by the “public arena”. There is a lot of fuzzy thinking going around regarding the categories “public”, “private” and “civil society”. Some is promoted by the Left for ideological reasons. Some is promoted by the Religious Right for similar reasons.
When Maxim and others on the Religious Right lament the absence of religion in the “public arena” they are actually playing fast and loose with wording. They mean the state sector. They can only mean the state sector since “public” institutions like churches, businesses, private schools and the like actually have religious components visible. The one place that it is absent is the government.
In the real “civil society” those are private decisions. There is complete separation of church and state. The Muslim closes his shop on Friday so he can go to Mosque. The orthodox Jew celebrates his Sabbath on Saturday and the Christian closes on Sunday. The rest enjoy the full week. There is no conflict between because this is privately determined. The conflict is created when the public arena is opened to religion.
Not that every liberal didn’t know this already. It’s painfully obvious that when American fundies want God in government, they want their God, and not Allah or Gaia or the Hale-Bop comet. I’m not sure what it is, exactly, that drives fundamentalists to push so hard for an American papal state of sorts. Maybe it’s a morbid desire to proselytize, maybe a desire to marginalize the heretics and unbelievers, maybe a desperate need to validate one’s personal beliefs by mandate or legislative fiat.
I understand that a lot of Christians would probably look at this and scoff, insisting that the extent of their desire for God in government is to just leave the Ten Commandments well enough alone. Maybe they’d throw in a good word for Intelligent Design theory while they’re at it. But you know what? That’s what a church is for. Schools and city halls are for education and politics. If schools need to start teaching Creationism as a viable scientific alternative (it’s not: it’s by definition a matter of faith), then I’d better start seeing pastors give lip-service to Darwinism during their sermons. It’s only fair.
Speaking of which, Jeff over at Speedkill cites PZ Myers‘ diatribe against the twits at Free Republic. Commenting upon an article about an “evolution disclaimer” sticker attached to science textbooks in some states now, poster Lindykim says:
The source of panic for human secular/socialists is that Darwins’ theory of evolution is the foundation for their philosophical worldview and thus the sledgehammer they’ve been using against Christianity to invalidate and eradicate it from America. They can’t afford for evolutionary theory to be questioned and/or openly and critically analyzed because it’s so full of holes that a ship could be sailed through it.
We’re seeing the beginning of the end for this fairytale hocus-pocus parading as science, and good riddance to an ideological worldview that has unleashed upon our civilization misery, death, perversion, nihilism, disease, paranoia, and insanity.
- “…secular/socialists”? What sort of odd lumping of political and religious terminology is that?
- “…sledgehammer…. against Christianity… eradicate it from America.” Last time I checked, separatists weren’t forming secret police and storming the houses of cowering Christians. The world is not a Chick tract, for God’s sake. The only place separatists are trying to eradicate Christianity (or Judaism, or Islam, or the celebrity cult du jour is from politics, where it doesn’t belong in the first place.
- “…can’t afford… to be questioned and/or… critically analyzed.” This is, by definition, the way a scientific theory, such as evolutionism, comes about. Remember, evolution wasn’t handed down to us in a tome. It was proposed by Darwin, who based his idea on observation and those of his forebears and contemporaries such as Hæckel. Furthermore, evolution is not “full of holes.” That scientists don’t agree on particular aspects, or that there are some things that scientists can’t yet explain, doesn’t invalidate the entire theory, as a principle or an origin.
- No theist, especially one this delusional, has any right to call somebody else’s belief system “fairytale hocus-pocus.” It’s all mythology, baby.
- Evolutionists are responsible for misery, death, perversion, nihilism, disease, paranoia, and insanity? I guess none of those things existed in the thousands (if you’re a Young Earth Creationist) of years before Darwinian thought. Or maybe Lindykim is just too dumb to realise that atheism, or theism-science hybrids, or any other deviation from fundie ideology doesn’t make someone any less moral or good than the fundies themselves, who, let’s face it, tend to be hypocrites anyway.