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Thoughts from volunteer leaders and supporters of Jews for a Secular Democracy. If you have something to share, please be in touch, we would welcome your contributions to the blog!

Political Religion, Not Religion Itself, is the Problem

As a Secular Humanist and a Jew, I have much to fear from religious fundamentalists in this country, especially as their political power is advanced by their current influence on all three branches of the Federal government. As I have said in my previous column on these pages, the assault on legal abortion goes well beyond the matter of the woman’s right to choose (a right in which I firmly believe). It goes to the criminalization of certain beliefs/values of both religious...
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On the Authoritarianism of the Religious Right in the Matter of Abortion Rights: A Clear and Present Danger

For some decades now, the work of the Religious Right in the United States has had a major focus on certain human activities which they wish to limit, according to their particular religious views on these matters. As is well-known, the two principal ones are of course abortion rights and LGBTQ rights. As is also well-known, the Religious Right campaigns vigorously — in the political and other realms of activity — not to persuade people of the correctness of their...
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Why Do Religious Fundamentalists Believe That Their Religious Culture and the Political State Should Be One and the Same?

At root, all fundamentalists of all religions find the modern world and its cosmopolitanism, diversity, and globalism extremely dislocating, as it threatens the loss of their world. In the case of the United States, Christian fundamentalists have lived in a world where “their kind” — Christians — have not only been the majority but also, in their worldview, “the founders.” Dislocating too are the secular governance institutions throughout the West that are essential to the governing of modern pluralistic states....
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Are Christians Being Disadvantaged?

A segment on PBS NewsHour, “Evangelicals Keep Faith in Trump to Advance Religious Agenda,” included an interview with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. He speaks to why Evangelical Christians support Donald Trump. In two words, he says it is “Public policy.” He goes on to say this: “Evangelicals experienced or felt that, in the past number of years, the past 10 years, issues of religious liberty, issues of advancing their Judeo-Christian value systems stood...
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How the States Got Their Secular Government

An important point related to why this page is called Jews for a Secular Democracy: look at Jewish history in America, and it becomes acutely clear that no one has had a greater interest in secular democracy than Jews, whether observant or not. That is true both on the side of benefiting from the freedom of belief guaranteed by the Constitution, but also on the championing side, where Jews have fought to see that others experience the same freedom. Many...
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Launching a *Jewish* First-Amendment Initiative

Today marks the public launch of Jews for a Secular Democracy, a pluralistic advocacy and education initiative that we hope will mobilize a wide diversity of Jews and our friends and family members toward strengthening what is commonly referred to as “the separation of church and state”: the secular imperative of our U.S. government. Viewing public policy through the lens of First-Amendment rights, it becomes clear that decision-making on so many of the important issues we care deeply about is...
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A Statement on the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment

The Establishment Clause, along with the “Free Exercise” Clause, are the bases for the mission of Jews for a Secular Democracy. It is important to understand that the Establishment Clause does not just say that “Congress shall make no law establishing a [state/national] religion”, although its meaning clearly includes that. It says instead that “Congress shall make no law RESPECTING an establishment of religion”. That is a much broader statement than if it had said “Congress shall not establish a...
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JFK: Church and State

I wish all Americans could listen and absorb this speech. Especially elected officials in every level of office. A person’s religion, faith, spirituality, secularism, or no belief is their own affair. It should never be exploited or manipulated for political points or votes. You should elect leaders based on their resume, life experiences, character, intellect, and work ethic. Speeches like this are important to our national identity. [Click on the video below.]