I have a question for one of the protest’s main organisers, namely Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society. He announced earlier: “The days of popes are over.”
He added: “This is a secular country, we are a secular nation. The pope should take his religion home with him and leave us to arrange our society as we want it.”
My question is this: who exactly do he mean by “we”? Does “we” include religious believers or are they excluded from this mysterious “we”?
Do religious believers in Britain not get to have any say at all over how “we” should “arrange our society”?
If this is the view of Sanderson then he has more than proven the point both the pope and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury were making yesterday, namely that aggressive secularism is attempting to marginalize religion and silence its voice in public life.
This protest today is really about that. Sanderson does not believe that religious believers belong to “we.” “We” are something other. “We” are to be excluded and left out in the cold by these self-appointed guardians of the public square.
It may be an imperfect comparison, but this is a question folks were asking this week as they were watching the Delaware Republican primary coverage and backlash as people attacked nominee Christine O’Donnell for being a Christian girl saying Christian things in her youth. Is there no place for that in the public square?
Oh how I wish for Father Neuhaus’ thoughts on all of this! All of it.