Can religious people have secular values?
Absolutely! Secularism is the principle that religion and government both do best when kept separate from one another. This is the only way to guarantee true religious freedom for people of all faiths and none. Any person of faith who believes in freedom, equality, inclusion, and knowledge as values and votes to ensure those values are honored in our laws, is a secular values voter. We may not have the same perspective on the role of religion in our personal lives, but we can all agree on the role of religion in government.
Why is it important for faith allies to be vocal about their secular values?
For far too long, the Religious Right has falsely claimed to be the arbiter of who is a Christian and who is an American. To justify this, they have attempted to rewrite our nation’s history and distort its founding principles so that only those who conform to their narrow religious criterion can truly claim to be American.
Despite their best efforts, the last few decades saw historic civil rights gains for groups that fall outside the Religious Right’s narrative. The secular character of our government laid the foundation for same-sex couples to win the right to marry, for LGBTQ individuals to win civil rights protections in states across the country, for women to gain control over their reproductive health, and for young people to be empowered with a secular and science-based education.
To fight back, the Religious Right’s new strategy is to call any attempt to advance secular values an attack on religious liberty and “discrimination” by the government toward people of faith. They’re pushing for “religious freedom” laws that allow government employees and businesses to treat same-sex couples like second class citizens. They are steamrolling local anti-discrimination ordinances. They are using junk science as an excuse to shut down and limit access to reproductive health care. And they are continuing to push an ideological agenda on children that stifles critical thinking, leaves them disadvantaged in a workforce that is increasingly dependent on science, and ill-equipped to make healthy choices.
It is up to our faith allies to stand up and make it known that the Religious Right does not speak for them. We need faith allies who share our secular values to stand with us and help us fight to reclaim religious freedom.