[FoRK] Ross Douthat on Secularism (vs. Atheism)

Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> on Fri Jun 1 12:12:34 PDT 2007

I didn't find the Douthat's distinction particularly cogent. Let me begin
by saying that I oppose the notion that government should be hostile to
religion, since that of necessity leads to the government drawing lines,
to define the target of its hostility. Government should be neutral on
such matters, except where various notions of religious behavior cross
into areas where the government is properly concerned. We ban both human
sacrifice and clitorodectomy. (And I am tempted by the arguments that we
should allow both, in the case of adult volunteers.)

Individuals should be hostile to religion, of course. There is nothing
else in our society that is so intellectually corrupting. But there is a
difference between opposing drunkeness, or even teetotaling, and thinking
that prohibition was a good idea.

So, does that make me a soft secularist when it comes to government
policy, and a hard secularist when it comes to private view?

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