There will be a seminar in DC on Saturday April 27 titled, Why Tolerate Religion? Good question, especially here in our highly-religious nation. The answer, naturally, is freedom of religion, but what about freedom from religion? For that reality, I ought to move to Norway or Sweden or, for the sake of language, Australia.
Yet, I’m stuck here in a city that devotes an entire section of the Saturday newspaper to religion. And it isn’t even in the Bible Belt. I can’t imagine living there.
Why Tolerate Religion? is the title of a book by author Brian Leiter a philosopher and legal scholar. He asks, Why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse?
Yet beyond the legalize, there are nearly daily examples of ‘religious persons’ fiddling around with our laws. Ohio legislators, for example, continue to fiddle around with laws grounded in their religious beliefs. Within the past two weeks, fundamentalist Christians forced the University of Toledo to abandon its support for abortion rights; another fundamentalist Christian is moving to ban teaching of birth control to Ohio high school students, to be replaced by abstinence education.
Fundamentalist lobbyists walk the halls of the Ohio Legislature promoting their religious agenda. And, with gerrymandering, our state legislature is packed with people who place their religious beliefs ahead of the common welfare of the state. Pathetic.
The book and the seminar will be interesting but ineffective against the wide-spread and strong chokehold of the religious in our society. Yet in the past decade or so, the tide is turning ever-so slowly in the direction of the non-believer. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the religious will roll over. They will fight tooth and nail to preserve their privileged hold on our society.