The Neutering Power of Secularism

Good news! “The overwhelming majority of American Muslims do not think Islam should be the main source of US law, and more than half (55 percent) said their religion should not be a source of American law at all.” In contrast, only 50% of Protestants said their religion shouldn’t be a source of American law.

Sarcasm aside, these stats belie the utter confusion of the masses regarding the meaning and coherence of “separation of church and state.” If you are a Muslim or a Christian and you subscribe to your religion’s ethics and laws, then those values should affect your political participation. If you are voting, for example, your values and, hence, your religion will impact what you vote for. And if you are voting on legislation, then that means your religion could potentially be the source of US law by extension.

If we are to believe the claim of secularism and political liberalism, namely that they provide a system where people of different faiths can live under one polity and be governed by one set of laws, then it should be a good thing that a Muslim can vote according to his convictions and a Christian and Jew can do likewise. Yet we we the majority of people in these faith saying that they don’t want their conviction to have anything to do with that governance.

Put it like this. If you are a Muslim and you do not vote according to your religious convictions, if any, then what other beliefs and values inform your vote and political participation in general? If it is not your religion, then can it be said that secularism brings people of different faiths together? Or is secularism just bringing together people who have neutered themselves by cutting themselves off from their convictions and source of identity? What kind of meaningful civic participation can occur when only neutered voices are allowed at the table?

The Neutering Power of SecularismGood news! "The overwhelming majority of American Muslims do not think Islam should…

Posted by Daniel Haqiqatjou on Friday, March 18, 2016

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