Some such as Rod Dreher ask if you regard religious beliefs and practices as just a sort of hobby if you are a secular fundamentalist.    If people are asked to make sure their beliefs and religious culture matters so little that they must keep all that out of schools, hospitals and the public space it seems unfair.  People point out that if you are golfer in a club you are treated better and not asked to leave your devotion at home.  The presupposition is that religious faith is dangerous and stupid.  So if religion is a hobby then it Is one that is disapproved of.

Some argue that a religion loses its right to equal treatment with other religions if it tries to get public policy to go its way.  If all religions are true as some hypocrites say, they are not all equal.  If they are all false as secularists might say, they are still not all equal.

Often what happens is your religion is considered undesirable, harmful and perhaps dangerous meaning that members who violate the teaching of its founder or its doctrinal authorities are upheld as heroes.  They are not representative of the religion and if they are good then the religion as such is bad.  A rebel against the group has nothing to do with showing if the group is good or bad but they do show they think it is bad.  They want the praise for themselves.

Secular fundamentalists who want the state to force pro-life religions to endorse abortion and contraception nevertheless expect the religions to keep out of state matters.

A teacher who leaves her husband and family for another woman is encouraged to tell pupils about it but she could be in trouble if she says sexual relationships are only between a man and woman and for marriage.

No state institution or enterprise is allowed to even lightly approve of any religion.  As Dreher wrote,

The secular fundamentalist insists that the only proper attitude to have toward religion is disapproval–mild for the “good” religions, and harsh for any that hold beliefs contrary to the state’s vision for the common good, even if that vision is utterly devoid of actual virtue (and, indeed, sees the very concept of “virtue” as something inimical to good secular values).

COMMENT: Some seem to want religion kept quiet for they fear that some supernatural power is working behind what it says to draw people to accepting something it says.  Others fear that religion and magical belief has some kind of hold on the brain so prevention is essential.  It is hard to tell when a religion speaks on human rights if it is talking about it as in being a religious matter or a non-religious matter.  Religious voices being allowed to talk to the state should not mean the relatively few who think they have the right to speak for everybody else such as a bishops and so on.  And all parties should be careful to keep it on the evidence-based human level.    Religious people need to be given a voice yes but caution is of the utmost importance.  As for the example of the teacher leaving her husband and family for her girlfriend, upholding her is not unfair.  It is only an outcome of admitting that traditional marriage is patriarchal and worrying.


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