The history of church-state separation in twenty minutes

April 30, 2011 | By | Reply More

Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism recently gave a short talk on the topic of church-state separation at Columbia University. As Adam explains, separation benefits all religious sects, protecting each of them from all other sects. Nonetheless, there is a long history of Americans religions attempting to circumvent the separation clause. One of the main problems has been that members of many religions, including today’s religious right, simply cannot comprehend or accept the possibility that government could be religiously neutral.  They are driven along by this idea: “If you are not their ally, you must be their enemy.”

This is an excellent two-part talk on a critically important topic, and you can view both parts of the talk here. Here is Part I:

Columbia Speech from Adam Lee on Vimeo.

Also, notice that Adam (AKA Ebonmuse) is now out of the closet as an atheist.  There’s an important reason for that move, one that is explained in this Daylight Atheism post about FFRF’s “Virtual Billboard Campaign.”  I’m totally in favor of having non-theists of all stripes (including atheists, new atheists, agnostics and ignostics) spread the word that they are decent, law-abiding, tax-paying moral members of society despite the fact that many of them do not attend church. They need to be heard because they are all-too-often unfairly disparaged, especially by conservative believers,

Adam Lee

and because non-religious people comprise one out of six Americans. Here’s how Adam further explains the reason for the Campaign:

As simple as it is, this may be one of the most effective things we can do to improve our public image and get our message out. The religious right has worked hard to spread poisonous stereotypes about who we are, what we stand for, even what we look like. By associating atheism with a friendly, smiling face that could be your friend or your neighbor, we go a long way toward counteracting those prejudices in the public’s conception and making people more likely to listen to what we have to say.

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Category: Politics, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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