A facebook discussion has piqued my curiousity.
The issue was gay marriage, which is irrelevant to what I'm about to write, but I want to quote the discussion to set the scene:
Sorry but your comment is very disappointing. Should a Christian girl who knows Gods word really have that opinion. Just sayin
To me, faith shouldn't be a part of the conversation - we are talking about a legal, secular institution in a free democratic society. Government shouldn't discriminate, pure and simple. And both bills before parliament guarantee religious freedom for churches to refuse to marry gay couples if they so wish.
Ignoring the question of gay marriage, I'd like to discuss the mentioning of "secularism" and "democracy". Both ideas are highly cherished by most people in first world Western countries like Australia, but my question is: Which takes precedence?
Democracy is based on the idea that ALL people must have an equal opportunity to have their say. Therefore, if so called "secularism" is going to ignore certain views, ANY views, a priori, before the public discussion even gets started, then to agree with that form of secularism is to admit that you're being undemocratic and discriminatory.
I believe people should always have a democratic right to argue on whatever basis they want to! Then let the majority decide if they're convinced or not- this is what democracy demands. It's the fairest way to do things. If secularism says that "faith cannot be part of the conversation" and therefore any faith viewpoints must automatically be ignored (as Person 2 implied), then that form of secularism should get thrown out, because democracy demands that people must be allowed to voice their opinion (1).
Here's another reason why democracy needs to take precedence over that form of "secularism": Otherwise, we'll soon have governments acting as thought police by deciding which people are actually allowed to speak their views, which views are allowed to be spoken and which views are not. Governments are there to serve the people, not the other way around!
I take it as basically self evident that we should all want to be living in fair societies where all people are allowed to voice their views. If so, then we cannot allow ourselves to uncritically accept the idea that certain viewpoints are to be ignored from the outset.
(1) Person 2 could be taken to be implying that, and this was how I interpreted their statement on my first reading. They might not have intended to imply that. Nonetheless, there are many people who do believe that faith should not be a part of bigger public conversations, and this post was addressed at that particular viewpoint and those bigger issues. The facebook comment was merely what got me thinking about these bigger issues.