Saturday, September 29, 2012

Secularists oppose a truly secular state

Recent riots involving parts of the Muslim community in Australia have stimulated significant debate. I thought this Opinion piece by Paul Kelly, Editor at Large of The Australian newspaper was quite insightful and appropriate, reflecting on what it means for Australia to be a secular state. Here is an extract:

It is equally important, however, to acknowledge the secular state is under assault not just from religious crusaders but from secularists. In Australia today racist language is a taboo, yet attacks on religious belief are frequent and almost fashionable. 
The sanction extended to media displays of contempt for people with religious belief, notably Christianity, seems to reflect a new prejudice by people many of whom aspire to drive religion from the public square into the exclusively private realm. 
Perhaps they do not comprehend, but this is a direct assault upon the secular state and the terms of peaceful co-existence between the state and religion. In this concept, the state became neutral between believers and non-believers and neutral among different types of believers. 
Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion.

It is important to acknowledge that even the term "secular" was coined by Christians and used in a positive light by Augustine and Luther. That was something I learnt recently in a fascinating history seminar.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly is of course a right-wing "catholic", as are many of the people associated with the Australian "news"-paper.

    When did you ever read a truly intelligent well-informed essay/article on the topic of religion and its relation to human culture by any of these usual suspects?
    The only kind of "religion" that the Oz promotes is conservative back to the past "catholicism".

    It never ever features anything about other non-Western religions, and hardly anything at all about Protestant Christianity -except in negative terms.
    It is of course very big on self-righteously calling "Islam" to come to terms with its "demons".
    Meanwhile how many Moslems and Arabs have been deliberated murder by the Christian West since September 11. As compared to the number of Westerners that have been murdered by Moslems.
    And yes the persecution and murder of Christians by Moslems is a dreadful problem.

    Meanwhile there are now more Christians in the world than ever before, both in total numbers and as a percentage of the human population.
    There are now more Christian schools and universities: more Christian propaganda of all kinds (both paper and electronic): more Christian TV and radio stations: more christian websites and blogs: etc etc.

    And somehow the poor "victimized" Christians are being threatened, persecuted and driven from the public square.

    As the Black Adder famously said: UTTER CRAPP!

    Meanwhile of course democratic countries which supposedly promote the use of free speech, ALL laws against the absurd "crime" of blasphemy should be abolished.

    Furthermore any "religion" that pretends that it is the ONLY source of truth in the world, or that it possesses THE one true way/faith/"revelation", and that it thus claims the right to control all of humankind, should be relentlessly and vigorously criticized and lampooned. Such is the case with right-wing so called conservative, back-to-the-past "catholics" and islamicists, both of which are now waging global warfare against each other.