(This post is part of the weekly series Secular Sunday)
On paper, “secular” simply means that something doesn’t have anything to do with religion-it doesn’t mean opposition to religion. But when we talk about “secularism” as a social movement, we’re talking about working to keep faith-based ideas, superstition, and religious ideology out of public life.
-from a Center For Inquiry On Campus flyer on Secularism
For a society to be secular it must at minimum be structured and governed without reference to or influence of religion. This means independence from each and every particular faith, and faith in general (if there really is or can be such a thing in practice).
This doesn’t mean that a religious person or an organization with ties to religion cannot play a part in a secular society. What it does mean though is that when dealing with public issues and influencing decisions that affect people’s lives, decision makers and those who argue in the public square must base their positions in the real world, not some other. No gods allowed.
Every intrusion of religion, in any form, subtle, sneaky, or overt, is an insult to a secular society and a secular people. It is meddling or rule by an alien superstition.
Anyone who realizes that they don’t want to live under the rule of someone else’s bizarre and twisted faith (and every faith tradition looks bizarre and twisted to someone) can recognize the reasonableness and usefulness of secularism in the public square.
And anyone who would demand that society be ruled by the tenets of their pet faith had better hope that their brand can retain power in perpetuity…payback can be a bitch.
Whether your neighbor says there are 20 gods or none, secularism won’t pick their pocket or break their leg (thanks Mr.Jefferson) and it may even help them treat you, and themselves, in a more tolerant neighborly manner.
Secularism is a great idea that all can get behind.