To Promote Secularism, Lose Your Double Consciousness

To gain perspective, whenever you hear and read anything talking about Muslims, the Muslim community, Muslim-majority countries, or Islam mentally substitute the words “Christians,” “the Christian community,” “Christian-majority countries,” and “Christianity.” Does the attitude/argument still make sense? Can the point your making still be justified? Are analogous criticisms of Christianity “racist” or “bigoted”? Are they “Christophobic”? Are Christians being persecuted because liberals want a secular society? Is tolerating patriarchy and homophobia necessary because these hatreds are part of Christian doctrine? Must people refrain from making or enjoying humorous observations about Christian beliefs and rituals – virgin birth and walking dead, laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, pedophile priests, because these offend Christians? Should we allow Christian communities to have their own laws based on Judeo-Christian doctrine/values? Suppose they have customs that are oppressive to women, children, skeptics, nonbelievers. Shall we accept these as “cultural diversity”? Do what Muslim believe, say, or do sound problematic or troubling when you imagine Christians believing, saying, or doing the same?

If you are not already doing this, then you have either failed to recognize that Islam is, at the very least, a religion like Christianity, and that keeping a secular republic depends on a persistent and vigorous defense of religious liberty. If you are prepared to be a vigilant secularist with respect to the encroachment of Christianity into our public and private lives, and engage in vigorous criticism of Christian doctrine and politics, including satire and ridicule, if you are prepared to offend Christians with profane and sacrilegious utterances, then you must be prepared at a minimum to express the same attitude towards Muslims.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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