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An establishment secularism

An established church is a religious entity supported by taxation and whose religious competitors are legally disadvantaged, in some cases suppressed or even outright persecuted.

Here’s a completely different thing:  A general sweep of a culture resulting in a broad consensus that a particular religion should provide the basic philosophy underpinning law and custom.

An established church is usually inimical to good government.  To pinch a phrase from Acton, government corrupts, and absolute government corrupts absolutely.  Established churches are a big step in the direction of absolute government.  The Bill of Rights forbids Congress from making a law that establishes religion.

And yet it’s a fact of history that America was largely conceived upon principles borrowed from the Christian religion.  It’s that big sweep of things that was Christian at America’s founding.  Nobody would deny that there are influences from non-Christian Rome or Greece.  But in the broad scope of law and custom, the founding of America was preponderantly Christian.  The famous remark of British Prime Minister Horace Walpole is enlightening as to what our enemies thought about us in 1776: “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson.”

In Our Time, Secularism is seeking to create a kind of godless established church.  It’s evolving into a situation where institutions it controls are tax supported while competing religious views are officially disadvantaged.  If they get their way, only secularist voices will be heard in the public square, and other religions will be prohibited from influencing the government.

I’m thinking we should have expected this.  From Babylon forward, rulers have shown a decided tendency to view themselves as gods.  They are as jealous of their glory as the true God is of his.

The Secular Man is well along the path of getting his church established.  Even if Christians can turn this back, there are portents of more than a little conflict in doing it.

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