By Hans Dembowski
Secularism is often misunderstood. This principle of enlightenment is not about government fighting religion, it is about the state being equidistant to all faiths.
Some fervent believers are and were secularists in this sense. Consider the founding fathers of the USA for instance. They separated church and state not because they were hostile towards region, but because they did not want their various churches to become corrupted by politics. They were aware of the bloodshed Europe had suffered when political leaders tried to enforce their religious beliefs, relentlessly persecuting dissenters and even going to war.
The idea of separating state and religion may seem counter-intuitive at first glance as both make rules. They make different kind of rules however. Religious rules are meant to guide the personal lives of believers and are geared to supernatural salvation. State rules, in contrast, are meant to facilitate peaceful co-existence in the daily lives of people who may have quite different backgrounds and regions principles, but must get along in the society. Read More