The Future of Secularism in American Politics

  (13 December 08)
  by Jim Norman

A recent article in The Huffington Post, an online source of news and comment especially regarding aspects of US life raises the issue of the future of secularism in American politics after the success of Barack Obama in the recent US Presidential elections.

To quote: "From the start, from Barack Obama's 2006 Keynote Address to the Sojourners Call to Renewal Conference to the over-the-top faith confessions by Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, the Democrats were determined to run as a faith-friendly Party. On the Republican side, though John McCain was pretty easy-going about religion, the religious right finally got to celebrate with the vice-presidential nomination of the ostentatiously religious Sarah Palin. You would not have known there was a secularist in America."

However this raises the issue of the degree to which secularism is, somehow, an exclusively Democrat domain, or the degree to which politicians will stoop in order to win a few extra votes. Perhaps there is also the matter of whether Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens speak for all secularists.

Another quote: "The growing power of the nonreligious can be seen in the publishing success of the group often referred to as the New Atheists. Christopher Hitchens' runaway best-seller, God is Not Great, joined Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, and many similar books as a militant secularism found its voice."

However the article goes on to give other examples of secularist voices which are more religion-friendly. Click here to follow the link to the full article.



I wonder about secularism in Australian politics. Could we ever have a Hawke or Keating again? Does anyone know Julia Gillard's position on faith?

Posted by Greg Spearritt

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