10 April, 2012

Cardinal Dolan Talks of Role of Religion in Politics - NYTimes.com

Cardinal Dolan Talks of Role of Religion in Politics - NYTimes.com

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tim,

    With all due respect to Cardinal Dolan and other religious leaders on the right, I think that there is an unfortunate conflation going on between:

    a) religious dogma informing an individual's views/conscience on matters of public policy; and,

    b) religious dogma as the basis for public policy.

    Regardless of whether or not one is a theist or an atheist, I think we can all agree that a) is inevitable and normal.

    With respect to b), however, I am afraid that the only practical response can be that there is no place in public policy for religious dogma of any stripe. The only arguments that ought to be acceptable on matters of public policy are secular arguments: i.e. those arguments demonstrable by way of empirical evidence.

    In other words, if you want to argue that your reigion's view on any matter of public policy represents the common good, then you damn well better have good emipirical evidence to back it up. Otherwise, we have no basis to prefer your religious view over any other competing religious view....and I assure you, there is a competing religious view on every public policy question.

    To pretend otherwise is to invite a tryanny of the majority where undemonstrable biases overrun the rights and interests of any minority. Moreover, it puts the state in the position of prefering or privileging one theology above another...is this something that the religious right truly wants to enshrine?

    American Christians may be fine with the tyranny of the majority as long as they are the majority, but I assure you they will drop it like a hot potato the moment the numbers shift out of their favour.

    Only a secular framework can protect all religious factions in our society. I would have thought that this was self evident...especially here in Canada where non-Christian populations grow at a faster rate than traditional Christian populations. Once the wall of separation between Church and State is breached, it is as easy to re-make public policy by the tenets of Evangelical Christianity as it is by the tenets of Islamic Sharia Law.

    The religious right ought to be very careful what it wishes for.



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