Secularism the enemy of religious freedom?
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For his New Years message, the Pope once again chose to attack secularism. This is nothing new. Late last year in one of his non-apologies for the Vatican's cover-up of child abuse, he blamed the secularism of the 1970s for pedophile priests, conveniently ignoring that this was a problem which had been identified as far back as the First Council of Nicea in 325AD, and which has continued to be identified as a problem throughout the following 17 centuries of Church history. In this years New Years message, secularism is blamed for restrictions on religious freedom.
In a way, I'd agree that secularism is the enemy of some elements of religious freedom. It is the enemy of the freedom of a religion attempt to impose its teachings on non-followers. Secularism is the enemy of the freedom of any religion to impose a theocracy. Secularism is the enemy of the freedom of any religion to stamp out another religion. And secularism is the enemy of any religion committing crimes against its followers, then covering up through internal administrative procedures.
Secularism is the enemy of the freedom to impose religious tyranny. And if that is the Pope's problem, he is free to ban secularism from his own personal mini-statelet (of which all the inhabitants are resident only to serve his whims, anyway), which, by the way, was established in its current form solely through a treaty with a fascist dictator.
But, secularism is not the enemy of true religious freedom. It is not the enemy of the freedom of every person to choose their religion - or to choose no religion at all. Secularism allows leaders of religions to spout the most outrageous nonsense, and those with different views to point out the nonsense for what it is. (See for example Meditations 868, 869, 870, and of course 871.)
If the Pope truly believed in religious freedom , he would embrace secularism. Instead, he uses Orwellian word games to disguise the fact he favours no religious freedom at all other than the freedom of the Catholic Church to impose its will on everyone.
The old man should remember he isn't a member of Hitler youth anymore.