by Greg Krehbiel on 9 August 2013
For most of my life our society has tried to come to terms with both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. A couple of the watershed issues were getting rid of prayer and Bible reading in the government-run schools.
Why the court decided that prayer and Bible study had to leave school — rather than deciding that the government should not be running the schools in the first place — is a question you should spend time pondering.
The issue has morphed over the years to the point that now people don’t only talk about “no establishment of religion,” they talk about a “secular society.”
I think this is a fool’s errand. Humans are inherently religious, and trying to force the government to be completely secular will always result in contradictions and confusions. It would be better, in my opinion, to simply admit that there is a bland, mild form of “civil religion” that undergirds our institutions, and leave it at that. Trying to root out every whiff of religion from the public square is both ridiculous and unnecessary.
Here’s an example. Should public schools allow yoga?
We often reduce questions like this to words. IOW, if they’re invoking or praising a god with the words that they use, that’s likely to be considered “religious.” But can a posture be religious? Certain religions apparently think so. So who’s to say they’re not?
This creates a situation where an allegedly secular court is supposed to decide that these religions are wrong, and postures are not religious — that only words are religious. I don’t think we want that.
-- 2013-08-09 » Greg Krehbiel