Friday, November 25, 2005

The Godless Constitution Chapter 4 - The English Roots of the Secular State

This chapter, obviously, covers about the intellectual tradition from which American Secularism sprang from. Specifically it focuses on John Locke, who's writings were extremely influential on American thought.

One revolutionary aspect of Locke's thought was the shrinking of the Public Sphere and the enlargement of the Private Sphere. Under the medieval order, the religious practices of the community were everybody's business; under the new system religious practices were to be private and personal. One might share a congregation with one's neighbors, but one would not be required to share a congregation with one's neighbors.

The chapter also makes the points that the same forces that argued for a rejection of the specifically Christian state also argued for a laissez-faire economic policy. It is interesting that the modern forces of religious correctness have abandoned this policy. They believe in the power of the government to make men good but not in its power to make men good employers.

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