Given the divergent views of ‘right religion’ that had developed among American colonists, the founding fathers had the good sense to opt for religious peace by establishing separation of church and state.Â Such a move was scarcely a large jump for most of them as individuals, as they were themselves by-and-large either atheists or deists, i.e. believers in an ordered universe, but not theists adhering to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — deus is the Latin word for G-d; theos is the Greek equivalent.
Few nations escape their religious roots and most, thus, end up being either literal theocracies (few still exist) or what may be denominated ‘cultural theocracies’, i.e. they are dominated by the values of one or another of the world’s religious traditions to the point where they take certain values as absolutes and condemn those who depart from these.Â Differences may even split nations along religious fault lines, e.g. India vs Pakistan and Bangladesh.Â Women’s and gay rights have been an uphill battle during the past half century precisely because most religions have traditionally denigrated both women and gays.Â The U.S. is now dominated by a theocratic administration doing its best to impose its narrow religious mores — anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti stem cell research, denial of environmental hazards and worst of all — destructive cultural wars with its religious enemies in the Middle East!
Cultural theocracy also looks to have ensnared the Israelis and Palestinians in employing combat practices against each other that neither side would direct against their own people — and is tearing Iraq apart.
What do you think?
“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)
Ed KentÂ 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]