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Reject The Secular Manifesto

John on March 1, 2006 at 8:28 am

I’ve been saying since day one that the cartoon jihad was a battle between militant jihadists and slightly less militant secularists. A number of sagacious persons including Mark Steyn, Ralph Peters, and Victor Davis Hanson have hinted around the issue. Joe Carter and Hugh Hewitt seem to have sensed it was the case without exactly ever saying it in so many words.

Now we have a new salvo in the battle. Once again it’s Jyllands-Posten and this time they’re publishing a manifesto written by a group of twelve writers and public intellectuals including Salman Rushdie. Here is its significance: What was implicit in the cartoon conflict is now explicit.

The story labels the piece as simply a Manifesto, but a better title would be “Secular Manifesto”:

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

Got that GodBloggers? If we are all Danes now, then this is what being a Dane apparently is about. Resist “religious totalitarianism” (not Islamofascism) and support “secular values for all.” That’s an interesting phrase…secular values.

Apparently, values such as tolerance, free speech and freedom are “secular values.” Really? When did this happen? Fortunately the intellectuals tell us:

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

The Enlightenment, so named because the secular humanists of the 18th century wanted to reject the “dark ages” of Christianity. The secular manifesto in question aims most of its shots at Islam, but the general thrust is anti-religion.

The tradition of human rights and freedom of expression that the authors are excercised about did not arise spontaneously as a result of 18th century secularization. On the contrary, the French Revolution, which was the culmination of secularization in Europe, was not exactly a model of human rights. In fact, the French public’s lust for public beheadings puts the Islamists to shame. And though such barbarity is behind them, they still celebrate Bastille Day every year.

The rights that we take for granted in the West grew in Christian soil. They were the product of complex forces including urbanization and the growth of capitalism. They were also, in many cases, based directly on scripture. The Magna Carta grouded rights in the Christian God. And while it’s true that many of America’s founders were Deists, they too began the discussion of “unalienable rights” with a reference to the Creator.

Freedom is not a “secular value.” Explicitly secular societies like China, the former USSR, North Korea, and the like are not known for freedom but tyranny. And it must be recalled that many of those nations based themselves on another great secular manifesto, this one written by Karl Marx. The result was tyranny and massive loss of life and human rights.

Secular societies such as Denmark which do exhibit concern for human rights still have a) a 30% Christian population and b) an explicitly Christian history for a good portion of their existence. They are not the products of “secular manifestos.”

Freedom is not a secular value. Freedom is a religious value. We can and should reject the dehumanizing influence of radical Islam, but we should do so without resorting to the dehumanizing influence of radical secularism.

Reject the secular manifesto.

[HT: Michelle Malkin]

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Category: Secularism & Socialism |

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