Government Crowds Religion

For a long time now we’ve watched an inexorable expansion of government. Because we have the principle of separation of church and state (though with much debate about what that means), this expansion means that influence of religion is chased out of people’s lives.

This is easier to show with an example. There is a pending case where Missouri’s anti-establishment clause was deemed to bar a Lutheran preschool from getting a state grant to improve its playground.  Now imagine two contexts for such a rule.

Imagine the first context as one in which the government never funds preschools, because that’s clearly not a government function.  If Missouri funded this one, it would be favoring religious activity at the expense of non-religious activity.  We recognize that as being out of bounds government activity.  At a time when governments did not fund preschools, it never would have occurred to anyone to propose that it fund only a sectarian one.

In the other context, the state routinely funds preschools, but declines to fund this one, because of its religious affiliation, which would result in a religious influence (however small) on the children who attend. Because the state has gotten into the business of routinely funding preschools, one without such funding would cost more.  You pay your taxes, so you’re funding preschools, like it or not.  But this one isn’t funded with your tax dollars, so if you want your kid to have religious influence in his preschool, you have to pay twice.  The result is that Missouri is favoring non-religious activity at the expense of religious activity.

Now the pending case could go either way, but the incremental effect of innumerable such decisions in favor of the misapplied separation principle, in law or by capitulation to political correctness, has a progressively diminishing impact on religion in society. The law crowds out religion.

The same point applies to the fact that the preschool is presumably a relatively small contributor to the prevalence of irreligion as compared to religion. But it’s easy to imagine parents choosing against the Lutheran preschool because of cost, such that they’re no longer as plugged in to religious influence.  Likewise with other parents who never even had the option, because the Lutheran preschools cease to exist.

This is an example of the progress of law  to the detriment of religion and the advancement of a non-religious point of view.  I was careful to say “non-religious” so as not to muddy my example.  But here’s the thing to understand about the non-religious point of view.  Its practical effect is to advance materialism, at the expense of religion, throughout society.  This takes place in many ways, and not just as a result of specific court cases.  Mine is a small example, but it is illustrative of the cultural hegemony staked out and advanced by materialists, to advance their metaphysical point of view, and to extinguish the opposition, invoking the power of the state to do so.

Now people are certainly free to believe what they want. That’s a founding principle of this country.  We should be vigilant to prevent adoption of law that runs counter to this principle.  But I don’t see that happening.  What I see is that the materialist paradigm is falsely believed to be metaphysically neutral, and in that disguise it is passively accepted by people who don’t see the game.  They may not see the subterfuge because they’re hostile to religion on an emotional level.  They have a visceral negative reaction to doctrines they see as confining, or to people they see as hypocritical and fake.  As a result they’re led to buy in to this bogus neutrality, and thereby become unwitting dupes of those who know perfectly well what is at stake.

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