Prayer and politics: abandon it at your peril

By Ian Wishart

Andrew Dickens had a fascinating segment on Church and State on Newstalk ZB today, as various lobbyists push for an end to prayer at parliament and council meetings.

The average atheist thinks that’s a great idea, but the average atheist doesn’t have a clue about the real reason for the separation of Church and State. It wasn’t about limiting religious belief (90% of the public still have spiritual beliefs of some description): it was about limiting the power of the State so that it did not presume to become Godlike in its powers and start telling people what they should believe. Like governments do now.

When politicians wield powers to change the way voters think, they corrupt democracy and it becomes a political arms race to socially engineer the sheeple in the brand image of the competing ideologies. Creating new voters who will drink the Koolaid.

As I wrote in Totalitaria, it is a slippery slope:

The whole point of “freedoms” is that they are seen as things the government has no right to touch. In the US Constitution, such freedoms are defined as given by God to all people, not given by the State.

The reason for this was not because the founding fathers of the US were rampant Bible-bashers – far from it in many cases. What they were actually doing was creating a legal framework to say that “we the people” who are writing this constitution derive certain fundamental rights that the State should never be able to touch, therefore we allocate the giver of those rights as an authority higher than the State.

If the State were to become the Supreme Being in a legal sense, it could cancel those fundamental rights at will. God is in the US constitution not for spiritual reasons but for legal reasons.

If you now approach issues from the presumption that the State reserves all rights to itself in the first instance, then you have already surrendered. Yet that is what is happening.

Every step that encourages MPs and councillors to believe they are the ultimate grantors of rights and judges of morality is a step towards Totalitaria.

Abandoning God in the political sphere does exactly that, it allows politicians to mainline on their own hubris.

And finally, for all those atheists out there: when you can come up with a credible explanation for the existence of the universe, life, mathematics and quantum events that doesn’t appeal to a faith statement or ‘just so’ story, only then will smart people take your arguments even half seriously.

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