Live And Let Live

by Richard Kovac

The strangle hold of the secular on our society is made evident by the reluctance of most to express religious sentiment in public. The Constitution does not require that the public be secular, only that no church be made official. But most are wary of offending some irascible atheist who feigns to have his constitutional rights affronted by consensual school prayer.

When I was an atheist, I followed my conscience and did not participate in morning prayer at the public school I attended for a year. One of the other juniors followed my lead and remained sitting. Yet we did not challenge the prerogative of the majority to follow its own conscience and pray aloud. We asked respect and gave respect.

It is with deep embarrassment that the typical "religious" person of today expresses his view, aware that the secular is grimacing at him/her. It is not "you poor persecuted majority" since only a minority of churchgoers practice half their alleged beliefs.

I'd like to come to an accommodation with today's (as I was yesterday's) atheists; Live and let live. My whole religion is expressed in that phrase "in all its multitude of senses, I will be tolerant of your freedom of conscience and expression. You allow me to live in union with what I regard as the sacred."

Maybe I will convince you. Maybe you will convince Me.

The days of dogma are over. That should include secular dogma.

And I will grant that there is a valid secular realm where the religious impulse is alien, which includes soccer and baseball.

Moderation in all things - except moderation. Can we not agree on a religion of moderation and toleration? These are components of humanism, itself Christian-inspired.

Who has done more damage? Fanatic believers or fanatic atheists? It's a toss-up. The only thing to be fanatic about is tolerating each other. We must agree to a peaceful co-existence with those who differ from us (including Hindus and Muslims and atheists, etc.) until our differences can be resolved by the gradual ascent to full truth. Or, as the Catholic Church has been saying since Vatican II, we must engage in dialog.

But I wanted to make the point that religious expression causes embarrassment to the recipient and even to the giver at times in this strange, alien realm we live in.

So I will bravely conclude with my favorite prayer, foisting it upon you at the end and catching you all unaware, without retracting anything I have already said here: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, we put our trust in you. Wonderful Heart of Jesus we adore you."

Why do I know that some of you will write me off as a fool for praying that?

Proving my point in this little blurb.

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