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← Separation of church and state, back by popular demand

Separation of church and state, back by popular demand - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

I suspect that the demand would be populous as most people do not really want the theocracy that some wackaloons do. Still, some is too many of late and the battle (perhaps literally) is far from over. Just shinning a little light on these theocrats is sometimes enough to get apathetic people into action. What you know you can oppose. Also knowing something is promotable to.

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 21:37:28 UTC | #927936

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 2 by Starcrash

Keep fighting the good fight, Sean.

I disagree that we're losing ground... I think religious bias has always been there, but just went unnoticed and unchallenged for a long time. But every time they pass these things they get challenged now, because of people like you.

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 23:59:33 UTC | #927970

Viveca's Avatar Comment 3 by Viveca

In 2012, the religious right has veto power over one of two major political parties in the most powerful nation on earth. No candidate can win the Republican nomination without pledging allegiance to “one nation under [a religious-right] God.” Yet Mr. Conservative, Barry Goldwater, once said, “I don’t have any respect for the religious right.”

How did this happen?

In the 1970s the religious right got organized, winning seats on school boards, city councils and in legislatures. Religious bias in government is widespread:

This basic, but extremely important fact, is what too many in the atheist/secular community don't seem to realise. The religious right "got organised", they applied themselves in those areas that have leverage. The fact that few, if any of them, can justify and defend their positions with abstract coherence and intellectual rigour is, in the final analysis, politically irrelevent. It is sociologically inconsequential to merely highlight the logical and evidentiary failings of your opponent in areas (such as internet forums) that most of the world pays no attention to. Far better to have bad arguments, but to know and understand how power works, how policies are advanced, how objections are silenced.

It will be no good whatsoever to merely think that by arguments alone the zeitgeist will be altered in your favour, and as a consequence of this alteration, policies and laws will come into being which reflect this alteration. Politics almost never works in this fashion. What usually happens is that certain points of view are overrepresented in positions of power, and as a consequence of this the zeitgeist is established. The changing zeitgeist is typically a consequence, and not a cause, of any change in power.

What's needed, more than anything else, is to target especially those in power, or those ambitious for power. What's needed is arguments and strategies for influencing and persuading this class of people. If this happens, you can be certain that the zeitgeist will change as a consequence. But the zeitgeist is not a "natural" and "organic" thing, it isn't the net result of millions of private and independent soul-searching. It's a largely constructed, artificial and contingent phenomenon, brought about by a numerically small, but strategically placed, number of individuals and groups.

Not being an American I don't know which issues being highlighted are likely to produce the best results, but I think Faircloth's intimacy with the reality of American political culture is crucial here and I wish him and the campaign, all the best.

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 00:59:01 UTC | #927981

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 4 by paulmcuk

I sometimes wonder it would be better in the long run if a religious fruitcake DID gain power in the US. Right now the fundies remain shielded by the almost universally held view that a religious person is, by definition, a basically good person. So an extremely religious person must be extremely good. Well, as long as they're some kind of christian of course. This view will probably only change when the masses see what harm they can do, which won't happen until they're in power. In Europe we got theocracy out of our systems hundreds of years ago. Perhaps the US needs to experience it before the electorate realises that they really don't want it. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

All that's purely theorectical of course. I'm certainly not advocating that the rational people of the US stop fighting tooth and nail to prevent the religious right from taking over. This could be a crunch year. A solid Obama win would send a signal to the Republicans that they need moderate candidates if they want to gain the presidency.

Sat, 17 Mar 2012 08:17:20 UTC | #928041

isisdron's Avatar Comment 5 by isisdron

I have the thought the same. The question is how many years would America be subject to this experiment? With technology, so much control over citizens will become possible that I seriously wonder what will become of us as a country, and a species.

Comment 4 by paulmcuk :

I sometimes wonder it would be better in the long run if a religious fruitcake DID gain power in the US. Right now the fundies remain shielded by the almost universally held view that a religious person is, by definition, a basically good person. So an extremely religious person must be extremely good. Well, as long as they're some kind of christian of course. This view will probably only change when the masses see what harm they can do, which won't happen until they're in power. In Europe we got theocracy out of our systems hundreds of years ago. Perhaps the US needs to experience it before the electorate realises that they really don't want it. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

All that's purely theorectical of course. I'm certainly not advocating that the rational people of the US stop fighting tooth and nail to prevent the religious right from taking over. This could be a crunch year. A solid Obama win would send a signal to the Republicans that they need moderate candidates if they want to gain the presidency.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 08:26:55 UTC | #929815