The Lutheran Witness

The Myth of Secular Neutrality

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Comments (7)
  1. Thom Styrbjorn says:

    Christian schools must avoid the “baited hook” of tax dollars, as that results in crossing the barrier of separation of church and state. Christians must be committed as much as ISIS is committed. We must enthusiastically carry our kids to Sunday School to learn the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and teach them to put on the “full armor of God”.

    1. John J Flanagan says:

      The reality today is that progressives are many in number, and they inhabit academia, politics, media, and even mainstream liberal denominations. They have an anti-Christian, anti-Orthodoxy message, and I include liberal churches because they have abandoned Biblical Christianity for a contemporary socially acceptable philosophy which promotes and affirms homosexuality. They twist the word of God to assert He favors and blesses gay marriage and gay clergy, and they often promote political issues like global warming and unrestricted open borders. They have little time left to spread the Gospel, and probably have great difficulty in explaining their difference of opinion with what the Bible clearly teaches on marriage being restricted to a man and a woman only. On the political and academic frontlines, orthodox Christian teachings will be violated along with the first Amendment to legally suppress Christian education, and ultimately treat Christian schools as second class citizens. We must remember that even our own land has become hostile to our religion, and hence we must think of ourselves as pilgrims and strangers. But we cannot be pessimists, because we walk by faith and know our destination is with Jesus and the saints in glory..

  2. Your argument here brings to mind the concept of “American civil religion” (advanced by Robert Bellah and others), which involves its own sacred symbols, beliefs, values, and texts (e.g., Constitution; Bill of Rights). I recall reading a few public address articles that examined the concept and thinking, “Wow. We really do have a national ‘religion.'” The concept might be useful as you make the case for the non-neutrality of secularism.

  3. Sorry, Thom, but Christians pay taxes and should be treated equally in the public arena. We should not have to give up the First Amendment right to practice religion free from government interference while also practicing our right to establish schools. If tax money is provided to students in the form of loans and grants, then it should be equally available to Christian schools without religious strings. Also, there is no “separation of church and state”, but rather the restriction placed upon government not to establish a religion nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.
    BTW–well written article.

  4. Jordan says:

    All secularists are materialists? Seems like a bit of a leap.

  5. DMP French says:

    I mostly liked this article, except for here: “For Christians the government can never have the competence to establish a religion of any kind or to offer religious instruction to the people”

    Which contradicts the other statements that it’s a ‘myth’ (oh how I hate the use of this word as if myth meant commonly held lie, myth is so much more than that, and definitely not a lie, but I digress…) that there is such thing as neutrality.

    It is unavoidable that there will be a religion foisted on the people by a state. It used to be that a ‘mere christianity’ was what informed our people, but now it is secular liberalism.

    Whether or not the government has “the competence to establish a religion… or … offer religious instruction to the people” it always, all the time, and forever does. For the government not to do this would mean anarchy. Even the statement “people should be protected from being killed and stolen from” is a religious view that could be otherwise.

    The question is not whether the government imposes religion on its people, it’s only which religion. Right now it’s secular liberalism. Perhaps it will be Islam one day. If Christians aren’t out to win, then they will lose, because others are out to win.

  6. Dan says:

    God has given government power over right and wrong. Moral authority is precisely the government’s gift from God.

    Do you include all governments in the Christian world in this generic statement? It is reprehensible to include Nazi Germany unless, of course, you are in favor of a government that wants to exterminate the Jews.