During Wednesday's edition of "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio, religion correspondent Tom Gjelten reported that Christian conservatives are locked in "an epic contest" with another religion.
"But that rival isn't Islam," he reported. "It's secularism."
In his report, Gjelten references a Charisma Caucus op-ed penned by David Lane of the American Renewal Project. In that commentary, Lane spells out the differences between secularism and Christianity, both of which he described as "distinct, immutable religions."
"Secularism is a religion established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963, explicitly minimizing the public and political influence of Christianity," Lane wrote. "It is no less than blasphemy to make declaration that God has commanded secular Justices to be obeyed when they command iniquity."
Gjelten's report also referenced Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart's dissent in School District of Abington Township v. Schempp—which banned Bible readings in public schools—and President Ronald Reagan's 1984 push for a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in schools. However, he also suggested the view of secularism as a state-sponsored religion is "controversial."
He quotes Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a leading lay Catholic intellectual, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention, among those who believe it is a state-sponsored religion.
"In some virulent forms of secularism, you have a moral code that is being imposed [that] often comes with the force of penalty of law," Moore told Gjelten. "It acts as a religion in terms of demanding conformity and seeking out heretics."
The remainder of the report attacks the notion of secularism as a religion. Gjelten features a college professor, Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., who specializes in the study of "nonreligious people." He told Gjelten a religion isn't religion unless there are "supernatural" elements.
"So a scientist who is gazing out at the universe and trying to make sense of it by looking at facts, physical properties, material reality, is not engaging in religion," Zuckerman said. "The person who looks out at the universe and thinks there's a magic deity behind it is engaging in religion."
Gjelten also quotes a Pew Research poll that found secular beliefs are on the rise in the U.S. But, he asserts—with data supplied by Zuckerman—that secularism isn't becoming a dominant force on the cultural landscape.
For those who read Lane's commentary in September will probably notice Gjelten's reporting missed the biggest point: "Secularism is merely the latest attack of a false religion challenging the authority of Jehovah and His Word."
"By God's design Satan's 'final defeat under Messiah's heel' (Gen. 3:14-15) is delayed to effect God's program of redemption through the promised offspring," Lane wrote. "In the interim, God leaves Satan to test the fidelity of each succeeding generation of the covenant people (Judges 2:22) and to teach them to 'fight' against untruth (Judges 3:2)."
With an "unbiased" report suggesting otherwise, it seems to reinforce the point he was making three months ago.
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