I have only one thing to add to Rana’s most excellent post, below.

Secular ≠ Atheist

Someone who advocates a secular (non-religious) government is not necessarily personally aspiritual or irreligious, and I’ve noticed the rightwing increasingly conflating the two terms, so that anyone who mentions the word “secular” in reference to the government is de facto deemed atheistic—which itself has become a dirty term (and that’s a whole other post).

It’s quite similar to the engagement of the term “pro-abortion” to refer to people who are pro-choice. Many people who are politically pro-choice are personally pro-life, would themselves never seek an abortion yet also maintain no interest in forcing someone else to bend to the same personal boundaries. As Rana aptly demonstrates, someone can quite easily be spiritual and/or religious and a vociferous supporter of a secular government. Indeed, many people—including plenty of evangelical social conservatives—are proponents of secular government, because, although their particular brand of religion gets the most ink these days, they wouldn’t want to be subjected to, say, a Catholic government.

Those who seek to undermine the distinction between secularism and atheism, in an effort to cast any suggestion of a strict separation of church and state as antagonistic toward religion (having already managed to cast all atheists thusly, in many quarters), are not merely anti-American, but, in a very practical way, anti-religion. If your religious beliefs don’t match up perfectly with theirs, they are overtly hostile to your religion, as well.

And, in truth, not every individual who supports infusing government with more religion shares exactly the same religious views—a puzzle they’ve no intention of addressing, no less solving—which exposes their faction for what it is: a sectarian political movement.

They’ve done everything they can to disguise it as something more sacred, but under its skin, it’s just another political animal, and is therefore subject to the same debate frame, irrespective of protestations to the contrary.

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