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Put away your prayer in public 

Brock Willard managing editor 

We live in a largely modern and secular society. That point shouldn’t be argued. Religion is not the driving force of our society, although a majority of Americans are religious. Despite this information, we live in a largely multicultural society. It is my thesis that many of all religions have trouble accepting this. 

We are rapidly approaching the annual “War on Christmas” where conservative talking heads on TV manufacture outrage over society becoming more secular in an effort to destroy Christianity. It is worth our time to examine this situation that we are somehow in. Plainly said, Christianity is not under attack in any respect. This piece is not an attack on Christianity. Christians feeling insecure about mentioning God in their work meetings is not an attack. It is how a multicultural society functions. A society that promotes inclusive and welcoming values (which I might remind that Jesus Christ did) should have space for all kinds of cultures and that includes making spaces where no one culture is represented over another. 

This is why our workplaces and schools are not appropriate places to begin evangelizing. Simply put, there are people who don’t prescribe to your religious beliefs and that’s fine. It’s what any sufficiently advanced society should want. 

You are not being persecuted when you are asked not to mention religion in the workplace. This is simply a fact of life. There are people who have been hurt by organized religion because organized religion in some cases has become a tool to gain power and wealth. If we look at the history of the Catholic Church, we can see this plainly. During the Medieval period of Europe, the Church was not merely a religious entity but an eminently political one. The Church exerted massive power and control over society; now, in theory, the pendulum has swung the other way so that many groups’ interests are represented. 

Another point to be made is recognizing that the Bible and other religious books were written by men. Plain and simple. You can say they are the word of your God all you like but when you get down to brass tacks, they had to be physically written by men and men are fallible.  

One great example is the fact that scripture has been twisted and warped by people with ulterior motives to demean and persecute LGBTQ people throughout the Church’s history. The passages most often quoted are the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the famous “man shall not lie with man…” bit. Pleased to say, most Biblical scholars now understand that Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t have anything to do with homosexuality. They were about rape and incest. The “man shall not lie with man” is a mistranslation relating to pedophilia. These realities need to be addressed. 

Confronting your own religion’s mistakes and its place in society isn’t a bad thing, it’s healthy. If religions as institutions want to survive, they need to reckon with these things. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from the Bible: “Render unto Caesar’s that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s.” It means live in the world and give unto the world its own things and the same to religion. It’s a phrase that acknowledges that we live in the world, even if Christians would like not to be of the world. This is all just food for thought. 

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