Here’s What Really Worries Secular People

I think every secular person, be he atheist, agnostic or Christian for the separation of church and state, knows that it will be a long time, if ever, before all vestiges of religion are removed from governemt.  Things like God in the pledge and the Ten Commandments on public property will be here for a long while. 

What raises alarm bells among us is when someone of some statrue makes an overt assertion that our government should just stand up and say, “The Bible tells us our government to do this or that.”  Even though we hear it often, every time it happens we worry for our country.

Today a retired evangelical pastor and author in Southern California named John MacArthur did it.  He said that our government leaders should go over to the countries of Eygpt, Libia and Tunisia and tell the protestors to knock it off.  Our government, he says, should tell protestors, “This is wrong, this is forbidden for people to do this, this is intolerable.”

Our government should do this for one reason, the Biblical admonishment to, “submit to the powers that be because they’re ordained of God.”  But, that is not all the good advice he had for our leaders.

He noted also that democracies are not always that good for the growth of Chrisianity.  Some of the best countries, he said, are places where a dictator promotes the faith.

I hope we do not see the likes of Pastor MacArthur in high government positions.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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30 Responses to Here’s What Really Worries Secular People

  1. entech says:

    re your christian right piece QED
    David

  2. Ike says:

    I am just wondering what you think about the possibility of pursuing legal action in ND to attempt to overturn the States “blue law”, that restricts retail activity on Sunday morning? The law itself mentions religion. To me this is certainly more of an intrusion on my life than some monument at the courthouse.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Ike 1:29 Thanks for the comment. I don’t know if secular people in other states have had any success in court over blue laws or not. I agree is seem like a government law based entirely on religious beliefs. I worked a lot on overturning the old blue laws which kept malls shut down. It allowed conviece stores to be open. Once I went around and bought a pile of stuff from convience store on a Sunday that was also available at the mall–clothes and you name it. Then, I showed it off on TV. It seems like stores should be able to be open whenever they want to be, period, with no government rules about it.

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    I completely agree. When I was in grade school, the “under God ” was not in the pledge, nor were the ten commandments on the wall. Everyone minded their own faith business, at home or in church. Religion was not a topic. We lived our faith, and didn’t flaunt it. Those who promote this current trend are relatively new to the scene,(60s forward). They are an offense to the rest of the religious community. They have not chosen their fight well.

  4. BS Meter Pinged says:

    I, for one, would always vote for a humble person who looks to God for guidance in being a legislator, judge or administrator. There are countless examples of so-called religious people who misuse or abuse their faith. What should concern a secular, i.e. agnostic or atheist, is not the christian, jew or muslim but the person who would deceive or consider himself the ultimate authority. Modern examples seem to be dictators such as Chavez, the nut in Afghanistan, anyone with Al Queda, etc.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Meter 2:11 Thanks for the comment. Yes, there are plenty of very religious people who make wonderful legistlators and leaders. They understand the pitfalls of mixing faith and government too much. I’m proud to support such people when they come along.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; Thank you. You clearly defined the correct “relationship” of Church and State. Not the seperation, not the same. Living in, but of. This works both ways. I don’t think the term “seperation”, but the “relationship” is probably the most accurate if taken in proper context. The secular is not to lord it over the secular, nor visa versa.

    • PK says:

      What about Bush? He lied about WMD’s and called these illegal wars a crusade.

      • Brad Campbell says:

        PK….I don’t think Bush lied, he was given information that was incorrect at the time. Maybe they will be found, yet…..maybe not. Anyway, Hussein is gone and that is a good thing, IMO.

        • PK says:

          Actually the White House admitted the intelligent they had even said that Iraq was not an immediate threat and that they omitted these parts of the briefing showed to congress. And Iraq did have these weapons at some point, but we sold it to them a few decades ago.

  5. Jason Pratschner says:

    Just a reminder…you all do know that there is no separation of church and state written in the constitution, I don’t why we all think this is written in this document. It was a court decision that was pushed and modeled to make people believe it was actually written in the constitution People actually read your constitution and tell me where it is written. It says that everyone is free to worship as they want and that the Gov. will not sponsor a state religion, nothing about not worshiping or being able to pray in schools or now practically in public. On another note it sure seems as a nation we really only attack Christians any other religion seems to pass right under the radar?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Jason 12:13 Thanks for commenting. You are very correct, the Constitution does not the phrase, “separation of church & state.” It does require that no law be passed establishing a state religion. Many people interpret that to mean a prohibition on passing a law that says “Christianity is now the official religion….” But, the courts have ruled that the Constitution means what is says, “no law..” meaning no law of any kind. Thus, when money is appropriated by law to be used to advertise one religion and not others, that is a “law” establishing a religion.

  6. Wanna B Sure says:

    I think it would be interesting to list the dates of the instalation of the “Ten Commandments” on public lands around the area. I’d be surprised that most were put there no earlier than the 50s/60s, some later. In terms of history, this would be a very short time.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Ah ha, “The seperation between Church and State”. This concept has been around for centuries. Remember the “render unto Ceaser”… . Within Christianity the terms “the two realms. the two spheres”. have always been there. Taken to a theological sense; the “Proper distinction between Law and Gospel”. All too often this has been abused, and the result is the confusion of the two, thus making the Gospel into a new law. The Pharisees were found guilty of this. Currently, Pietism (the ism )of it, reveals the same result. Much of what you see on “Christian” TV, and the various related sects are victims of this same error. Christian Zionism is probably the most apparent offender. There are many variations on this, but they have some of the same common denominators. Throw them in to a basket, shake them up, grab one, and what you get, is what is left in the basket. I can see why Atheists are offended, (even though I don’t agree with their main premise), however, these “new pietists” are just as offensive to the rest of Christianity as they take away from the central message of Christianity.

    • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

      As I understand it a number of them coincide with the release of the movie in 1956 and that they were quite literally promotional devices for the film.

  7. PK says:

    True. The terms “separation between church and state” came up in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson explaining the meaning of the 1st Amendment. That’s what it means, even though i think certain groups have gone beyond the original intention of the law by trying to completely irradiate the mere thought of religion from public places.

  8. Wanna B Sure says:

    How come the time stamps on each comment are not accurate?

  9. entech says:

    Time zones are a method of dividing the earth in such a way that whatever time zone you happen to be in noon is at about mid-day (being a bit pedantic because noon is the time when the sun is at its peak). For historical reasons Universal Time Coordinated, previously Greenwich Meantime Time, is based on the zero meridian which passes through the Observatory at Greenwich. In military use this is zone Z, verbally this is expressed as Zulu.
    There is no religious or political reasoning simply provides a common datum so that it makes sense to say and record the time of a post or comment as being at, say, 4.00 am when I know that my comment was at 2.00pm because my time zone is UTC (Zulu) plus 10 hours.
    Sorry for the pedantry. In my previous life (pre retirement, not a previous incarnation) I was a marine engineer and had to explain to my wife (a passenger on my ship) how to make sense of an often heard question, “What time is noon today”. Just a touch of nostalgia.

    David

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