Christian Politicians on the Wrong Side of History

20 Apr


Church State

Some politicians in Ireland want Church and State to intersect

Why should the Irish people care that some Kerry councillors want to erect a crucifix on the wall of their chambers? Who does it really affect? After all, most other people in Ireland are Christian like them, although I assume that the Kerry councillors aren’t just Christian in the nominative sense and, unlike most other people in Ireland, actually make more than a few cursory visits to the pew every year.

But Irish people shouldn’t just care about what’s happening in Kerry, they should be angry about it too. For one reason it shows that ‘liberal’ Ireland still has to dust off some of the residue of its past. But for another and more important reason it shows that some Kerry councillors, whether aware of it or not, want to contravene the liberal democratic values of not just Ireland, but of all Western democracies that value religious freedom and equality, and that should make Irish people very angry indeed.

The church has no place in the state and it’s for its own benefit that it doesn’t. The fundamental truth, unknown by the councillors, is that a religiously neutral state is the chief guarantee of religious freedom and religious pluralism. The United States has one of the most religious societies in the Western world but its strict separation of church and state means that it’s also its most secular state. Thomas Jefferson said that “erecting a wall between church and state is essential in a free society”, and no state guarantees religious freedom and equality as much as The United States.

I assume that such an archaic action is a reaction to the weakening of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Indeed, it was reported that at least one councillor said that they were tired of apologising for their religion. Although I believe that in the near future, the Church will further apologise for its position on HIV/AIDs and its treatment of homosexuals (just as it has for mass rape, torture, murder, slavery and the persecution of other religions) such is its need to stay somewhat current with the rest of civilisation. The councillors may be tired still.

But I digress, regardless of how moral or immoral the Roman Catholic Church may be is not what’s most important. What is most important is that neither the Roman Catholic Church nor any other faith has a place in the state. And there should be no exception, not even if, as one of the Kerry councillors said to justify, “the vast majority are of Christian faith.” The appeal to majority is not just a fatuous one it is fascistic too. It is an appeal that theocrats in Islamic states make at the expense of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities who are pushed to the margins of society because they are not the majority.It is an appeal that betrays incredible ignorance.

At the end of the cold war the academic Francis Fukuyama declared the ‘End of History.’ What Fukuyama meant was the debate between liberal democracy and communism was over-liberal democracy won. The same is true of the debate on secular democracy and theocracy-secular democracy won. The Kerry councillors should be mindful that they, like the communists, are on the wrong side of history.



5 Responses to “Christian Politicians on the Wrong Side of History”

  1. Talan Caine April 22, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    ” and no state guarantees religious freedom and equality as much as The United States.

    ” Are you being sarcastic or just embarrasingly naive?

    • laymansnews April 22, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Look at the countless number of small religious groups that flourish in the US- that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. Even in countries like France and Germany small religious groups and cults are pursued by the state and not afforded the same status as other bigger religions. The French state was found guilty of breaching the human rights of Jehovahs Witnesses in 2011, and Germany only recognised Scientology as a religion in 2005.

      Ask any group that represents Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh Day Adventists, Scientologists etc where their members are most free to practice their religion and I’ll bet they’ll say the US. Why do you not think so many Mennonites, Ultra Orthodox Jews, and others on the religious fringe moved to the US.

      Or a better example yet is the Westboro Baptist Church, the ‘god hates fags’ church. The things they do on a regular basis would be almost unthinkable in any other state, yet in the US they can do because their right do so is guaranteed.

      • Talan Caine April 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

        These are almost all Christian organisations. I don’t think Scientology should ever have have be granted religion status anywhere, I’m not going to make any cult argument but It should at least be seen as a philosophy. The US is a country with extreme Christian leanings and is seen by the rest of the world as it slogan professes it, one nation under God.

    • laymansnews April 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      ‘State’ is the operative word you’re ignoring. The US is a religious Christian society, but it is a secular state. There’s a huge difference. By not interfering with Scientology in the way that European states do, and by not differentiating between big religions and small religions the way that European states do, the US, as a state, proves that it’s a greater guarantor of religious freedom and equality.


  1. Kirche heute, 20. April 2014 | Christliche Leidkultur - April 20, 2014

    […] Christian Politicians on the Wrong Side of History […]

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