The Stakes Are High in the Contest Between Secularism and Theocracy

Dandelion macro seeds close up

In the United States, we hear a lot about the ongoing conflict between Democrats and Republicans. Around election time, we hear about red states and blue states. We hear about the urban-rural divide. We hear about how differences in education account for differences in attitudes.

As relevant as these divides are, it often seems like secularism vs. theocracy is a more fundamental conflict. After all, today's Democratic Party is anything but secular. Instead of standing up for our secular democracy, many Democratic leaders have adopted a path of pandering to the religious majority. For the non-religious among us, regardless of our political leanings, it is about secularism vs. theocracy.

Here's how Adam Lee (Another Day, Another Dragon) put it:

It's secularism against theocracy, the free intellect against dogmatism, conscience against barbarity, the future against the past. Like it or not, it's one of the defining struggles of our time. And there are many decent, well-intentioned people who don't want to confront the full scope of the problem, who turn their gazes from it or try to paper it over with soothing platitudes. (Or worse, they claim that we, the people who are pointing out the problem, are the ones who started it all, and everything would be fine if we'd just be quieter and more respectful.)

He's right. They want us to be quieter in our criticism of their efforts to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. They want us to be more respectful of their religious beliefs even though they are unwilling to extend respect to others. I find Lee's words helpful to review whenever I feel like giving up on secular activism. The stakes are too high.

Religious Americans should remain free to practice their religion, as long as it does not harm others or require involuntary participation. While this is good enough for many, it isn't what Christian nationalists seek. They want to abolish secularism and erect a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. We cannot allow this.

Image by Joe from Pixabay

This is a revised and expanded version of a post that first appeared on Atheist Revolution in 2012.