Martin Robbins, writing in the Telegraph, answers Baroness Warsi’s fatuous op-ed piece urging Christians and Muslim to join forces to oppose “militant secularism.” He points out the reasons why Christians should be — and many are — secularists themselves. Though his column is about the UK, much it applies in the United States as well.
Just as feminism ultimately benefits men, secularism is the best option for Christians in the long term. Sadly, a self-interested, parasitic elite within the Christian community are prepared to do anything to cling to their own positions of power, even it means misleading and undermining their own flocks.
Claiming to represent ‘ordinary’ British Christians, the Biblejackers have conjured an imaginary threat – militant secularism and the ‘war on Christianity’ – in an attempt to corral Christians behind a misleading campaign that fails to serve their best interests…
In a secular society everyone is free to have their own faith and express it as they see fit. State religion imposes one brand of faith, forcing people to participate in its traditions and skewing the political system to give its followers preferential treatment over the rest of the society.
In any case, the decline of Christianity in the UK has little to do with secularist bogeymen. “Militant secularism” is a convenient distraction for religious elites who – like many incompetent rulers through the ages – would rather place blame on some semi-mythical enemy caricature than admit their own failings…
I’m an atheist, but if I were a Christian surveying the state of my religion in modern Britain I would welcome secularism; and it seems that many already do to some extent. Secularism would shake up the church and force it to address its relevance to modern society, bringing it back to the people. Faith is in decline, and when Christians inevitably find themselves in a minority – on local councils or nationally – secularism will protect their choice of faith or religious identity.
Above all, secularism is fair. It satisfies the demand that we should treat others as we would like to be treated, and sits well with Jesus’s instruction to “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” Secularism allows each of us to have our own religious, spiritual or atheist identity untroubled by the state. That’s why we should defend it, and that’s why we should be suspicious of the motives of those who attack it, be they atheist, Muslim, Christian or just a bit confused.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: