Defining secular

By From page A5 | December 23, 2013


I would like to respond to Ms. Medley’s letter dated Dec. 18.

I understand what you are saying, Ms. Medley, and I am very thankful that our country cannot impose a state religion upon any of its citizens. Very, very thankful. Many countries around the world persecute and murder people of faith who believe differently than their state-imposed religions.

Perhaps I read too quickly both the original letter to which you responded and your response, and I may not have been aware of the context in which you responded, but though our government may not impose a state religion upon us, it is still a fact that the majority of the citizens in our country are people of faith by choice and secularism is defined as the “absence” of religion.

The term “secular” is defined as: 1) Worldy rather than spiritual; 2) Not specifically relating to religion; 3) Relating to or advocating secularism; and 4) Not bound by monastic restrictions, especially not belonging to a religious order.

Since we know that the majority of people in the United States are people of faith, the first two definitions would not apply. The third term is not applicable because we do not “advocate” secularism. The fourth definition would apply, because, thankfully, we are not bound by monastic restrictions, so, in that sense one might say that we are secular, but by the first three definitions, one would say that we are not, and that is the premise of my initial letter to you.

It seems that we do agree that our nation as a whole is not secular, only that the government cannot impose a state religion.

Diamond Springs

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