03 March 2004

For the record

I am a vigorous defender of the separation of church and state, and am clear that the Framers of the Constitution intended to create one. I am opposed to ''In God we trust" on the money. I am opposed to ''under God'' in the pledge of allegience. I am opposed to posting the Ten Commandments in schools or courtrooms, unless paired with, say, the Hammurabi Code. I am opposed to the opening prayer in the Senate.

I even envy the secular culture of Western Europe, with Existentialists as far as the eye can see saying that God is dead. I'm sorry they had to learn the lesson through the butchery of two generations of 20th century young men in stupid wars, but I'm glad they learned the lesson, and wish we could catch on here in the US. The kind of people who think that American culture is under assault by evil secular humanists would definitely call me a secular humanist.

But let's be clear: This is not what I advocate.

A law banning Islamic headscarves in France's public schools was overwhelmingly adopted Wednesday in the Senate despite protests by many French Muslims that the measure is discriminatory.
President Jacques Chirac ... said such a law was needed to protect the French principle of secularism.

The law forbids religious apparel and signs that "conspicuously show" a student's religious affiliation. While Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses would also be banned, authorities have made clear that it is aimed at removing Islamic headscarves from classrooms.

AP, 3 March 2004

This is an abrogation of personal liberty. We ''secular humanists'' don't want a completely secular public sphere, free of religious observance, just a secular government.

Religion good, government advocacy of religion bad. Okay?

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