Secularism in Contemporary Industrial Society
Secularism’s future doesn’t look too optimistic.Secularism implies a plurality of cultural choices. Secularism is not about the absence of faith: indeed it is about the assertion of faith – faith in freedom and people, not dogmas. Space where one can pause and acknowledge the other, the one who is different, the alien, the non-believer. where one can negotiate the public sphere without the need to the foreground or privilege one’s own mode of worship (Menon 2004).It is the governments of nations that wield the greatest influence on how secularism, as accommodated in the constitution, is supported, suppressed or misinterpreted. Let’s analyze the situation in the United States of America first, the vanguard of the modern industrial age.The American Constitution omits any mention of God and instead assigns supreme power to "We the People". However, there had always been controversies, violations, lawsuits and ambiguity related to the constitutional principle “Separation of State and Church” (Jacoby 2004). “Right-wing religion, money and political clout have driven the rise of religious correctness during the past thirty years” (Jacoby 2004). The upholders of religious fundamentalism have never concealed their contempt for secular laws and practices, even if that would mean influencing the federal government to disallow same-sex marriages, or to run propaganda machinery in the guise of books that claim that the “Grand Canyon was created in six days” (Jacoby 2004). But what does the American public think of it all?A poll conducted by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, reveals an “astonishing disconnect between Americans general approval of faith-based funding and their deep reservations about what specific churches might actually do with government money” (Jacoby 2004). 71 percent of those polled supported tax benefits for social services that are faith-based.