Friday, July 24, 2009

Going godless?

If you read this week's Second Thoughts and decided I'm anti-religion, I'm sorry to say you misread the column. There's more nuance here than Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good.

Simply put, the government has no right prohibiting you from bringing beliefs and convictions to bear when you speak, make decisions, even vote. That's what freedom of religion means in this country.

But there is something very wrong about the government — as the secular institution leading this nation, state, county, city, etc. — supporting one religion over another, supporting religion over irreligion, etc. Secular government should leave matters of salvation alone. Period.

Such a practice protects your freedom, my freedom, everyone's freedom, no matter what you believe.

(Side note: For the record, I have nothing against government funding going to religious charities that do good work in their communities, so long as none of that public money goes toward proselytizing.)

However, if religion becomes a tool of the state, theocracy is what you've got, and it's only a matter of degree until you hit "Taliban" on the Theoc-o-Meter.

That isn't an indictment of religion itself. Because just like anything else, religion can be bad, and it can also be very good. Two things can be equally true.

Religion just shouldn't be part of the government's purview.

No comments: