I posted a reply on the Otterside a couple of weeks ago, and Technorati helpfully (after a couple of false starts) let me know that the writer of the blog had replied.
In that reply, which I appreciate (while not agreeing!), I noticed these words:
The only guarantee of [religious] freedom will be when anyone can engage in any governmental function, at any level, and have not a single religious reference. What these radical clerics don’t see is that freedom of religion exists if and only if there is an equal freedom from religion. Anything less threatens my free exercise as much as it does that of an adherent of any other religion or an atheist.
Whoa. Again, I’ll have to respectfully but firmly (and totally) disagree. My impression? The writer does not understand what religion is.
Religion is a worldview. It’s a perspective on “life and the universe and everything,” in Douglas Adam’s words. In that basic sense, it is absolutely no different from humanism, or ‘scientism’ (ok, that’s my word, a very ugly construction by which I try to connote the idea that everything can be explained scientifically), or atheism. As such, it deserves a ‘seat at the table.’
Also, many, many people in Canada, in the US, have religious beliefs. To assert that government should be entirely free from any religious reference is to deny the very basic principle of representative government.
(And besides which, government will never be entirely free of any religious reference. It’s impossible. I note that the author of “the Otter side” has included some quotes from the Bible. Here’s another, straight from the lips of Jesus: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” There’s only two sides in this struggle, and like it or not, you’re on one or the other.)
And finally … while I’m not American, it’s fairly obvious tht the framers of the US constitution did NOT mean freedom from religion when they said “freedom of religion.” Such a thought would likely never have crossed their minds.
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