Wednesday, January 23, 2013

By consenting adults

Peter Berger writes about some of the religious liberty litigation here and in Europe and considers why those who want limit the role of religion are so passionate. From "Religion As An Activity Engaged In By Consenting Adults In Private":
.... 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 here a general issue of government overreach, as clearly illustrated by the (still unresolved) attempt by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage in their employees’ health plans. Beyond that, though, 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. ....

.... There is yet another theme that comes through in the survey data: An identification of churches (and that means mainly Christian ones) with intolerance and repression. I think that this is significant.

Let me venture a sociological hypothesis here: The new American secularism is in defense of the sexual revolution. Since the 1960s there has indeed been a sexual revolution in America. It has been very successful in changing the mores and the law. It should not be surprising that many people, especially younger ones, enjoy the new libidinous benefits of this revolution. Whether one approves or deplores the new sexual culture, it seems unlikely to be reversed. Yet Christian churches (notably the Catholic and Evangelical ones) are in the forefront of those who do want to reverse the libertine victory. Its beneficiaries are haunted by the nightmare of being forced into chastity belts by an all too holy alliance of clerics and conservative politicians. ....
Religion As An Activity Engaged In By Consenting Adults In Private | Religion and Other Curiosities
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