That’s true as far as the very generic language of “religious liberty” used by promoters of these bills. But as soon as they get more specific about what they mean by “religious liberty,” the sheep costume falls to the side. This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing. The fangs and claws are obvious for all to see. This effort doesn’t appeal to piety or to a love of religious liberty — it appeals to the same instinct that hanged Mary Dyer on the Boston Common.
A wolf in wolf’s clothing: Reviving the ‘religious liberty’ to hang Quakers in Boston Common ☀
Tea with Simon Critchley: The Separation of Church and State Is Impossible ☀
The religious conservatives are right: there is a theology behind the American political system—only it isn’t Christianity. It’s deism, the faith most closely associated with the Enlightenment, which professes, as Critchley puts it, that “there’s a God, but a God that doesn’t do party tricks.” Even if no one calls himself a deist anymore, it lives on it the political systems that the Enlightenment inspired—especially our own. Liberal democracy, Critchley argues, is simply the political form of deism. Natural law and natural rights, so central to the American creed, are fundamentally theological concepts. Thomas Jefferson may have been a freethinking, Bible-revising iconoclast, but he wasn’t just being figurative when he wrote, in the Declaration of Independence, that such rights are endowed by a Creator; that’s what deists believe. And even without prayer in schools, the deist creed is coded into every national ritual we have, from the courtroom to the ballpark.
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