13th August 2008

“We cannot take biblical, particularly Old Testament, laws and demand that secular society be bound by them.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

2 Responses to “13th August 2008”

  1. Chris Says:

    This quote, out of its context, is wrong. “We” can and in many places do exactly that. Why, when so many believe the opposite? A majority do. But, if we don’t take this as advice, we do end up with BAD governments. It gives one hope that Barack Obama lists Niebuhr as an influence. I’d like to see the rest of his argument.

    Secular society, at least in the U.S., is secular not to prevent religion but to protect it. The framers knew that the only way to prevent the religious persecutions that had happened in Europe was to make the government of the U.S. officially neutral on the topic. They also understood “the tyranny of the majority” and so created a system by which minority rights of states, sects, individuals, etc. were more difficult to impinge. Many of the founders actually had antipathy for the Christian religion and it’s tendency toward domination and repression so an intended effect of this system is the protection of those with no belief.

    So, lots of reasons other than the simple falseness of such beliefs!

  2. John Sutton Says:

    Niebuhr was a methodist evangelist who could teach our contemporary christians a few things about tolerance – but not much.

    Clearly, given the present climate of religious appeasement it is up to rationalists to insist that our secular institutions are free of religious influence. I can only hope that, as UK citizens see first hand the results of the hand over to faith groups more will be fired into action.