February 15, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I've been reading Freethinkers, A History of American Secularism. It is a bit like a horror story: you see the hero of whatever story is being told and you see the fundies sneaking up behind them to conch them on the head, steal their ideas and erase their names from the breakthrough they spearheaded. The secularists always seem so optimistic, like it will be only a matter of years before the American people realize en masse the illogic and hypocricy of organized religion, and time and time again orthodox religion not only goes on, but uses the criticism to exploit the controversy of the day and tighten their stranglehold.

This is the depressing argument of the book. Granted it is probably only the most obvious view to derive from the facts in the book. Those outside of orthodox belief are not as monolithically good as made out and those inside are not as bad. However, the facts in this book are a treasury of evidence that most of the religious public figures in our history have used a similar combination of chutzpah and over-heated insanity to fight any reform to make people happy, guarantee human rights or improve life through science.

As the book approaches the present day, the reader can see the lines of the current climate of "faith-based initiatives" emerging, it is a comfort to know that similar attempts to give tax money to churches never lasted very long and that the road back through the reforms hard won from the prejudices of religion is a long one.

Posted by Spicolli' at February 15, 2005 8:14 AM