Monday, August 27, 2007

The glint in the eye of the religious

Rod Dreher has a review up of the recent essay in the New York Times by Mark Lilla, The Politics of God. Though I wanted to I haven't read the essay as I didn't get a chance before it was put under the protection of Times Select, but from what I have gleaned second hand it takes a decidedly favorable view of the West's separation of church and state. Thus, Dreher is obliged to give it a pan gentle enough to meet with approval in the dew-eyed estimation of an audience attracted to a man who styled under the folksy moniker "Crunchy Con," as if that were supposed to be some clever example of "owning the insult."

In a telling sentence Dreher goes the path that all the faithful travel when attempting to approve of separating religion from government when he inveighs that he would not like to live in a theocracy:

in part because there's no telling whose Theos will be the source of authority.


Ah yes. So I think I may safely assume that if there were only someway to guarantee that it would be Dreher's "theos" in charge then there would be no problem. I doubt he would agree to this either, at least publicly, but the statement lies there lacking any qualifier so I can't help but think it didn't give Dreher much pause to write it. But it is unfortunately an oft found attitude among the religious that they don't value secularism for it own sake but merely because they can't guarantee their own control over the theocracy. Without going into an extended study I should think that the economic and social progress of Western secular societies should give him some reason abjure theocracy.

I can't remember from whom I heard it but the view that, "It is characteristic of the radical that he views power as a good thing so long as it is consolidated in his own hands," seems applicable here, as well as regarding religious believers generally. I could also substitute the word "totalitarian" for "radical" and it would I think, be even more appropriate for after all a belief system predicated on constant, divine, eye-in-the-sky supervision can't help but be so. They don't value our rights, and they don't value the society we have created. It is a society in which they must begrudge us a secular government out of fear for their own fantasy. When they begin to be a bit more popular though just see how separate they keep their religion from their ideas about governance.

1 comment:

Guilford said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/magazine/19Religion-t.html?ei=5070&en=723b83427cb0736b&ex=1188360000&pagewanted=all