“Jesus Christ in the conversation embarrassed her the way sex did her mother.” So said Flannery O’Connor of one of her characters in the short story “The Displaced Person.” Sex, though, today is out in the open. But religion, to be socially and politically acceptable, must be closeted.
The great sociologist Peter Berger (a Lutheran) surveys the array of lawsuits in the United States and Europe against open displays of Christianity. Here is what he concludes:
In all these cases the authorities accused of violating the plaintiffs’ rights operate with a definition of religion as a private matter to be kept out of public space. . . .There is a very ideological view of the place of religion in society. In other words, religion is to be an activity engaged in by consenting adults in private. [Read more...]