The controversies about public display of religious symbols nearly all center on secular demonstrations of militancy and narrow-mindedness, involving attempts to remove or suppress expressions of faith (like crosses in parks, or Ten Commandments displays in public buildings, or the words “under God” in the pledge) that have existed innocuously for decades. Very few of these disputes involve efforts by the faithful to impose new symbols in prominent places, or to “ram their faith down the throats” of the unwilling public at large. It’s the secular left that’s consistently intolerant of American society as it’s existed for years, not religious conservatives who express unwillingness to allow public disagreement with their convictions. In the bitter debate about teaching our children about the origins of life on earth, religious activists make no attempt to block the teaching of Darwinism or random natural selection, but it’s pro-evolution fanatics who fanatically resist any messages or questions that even hint at Intelligent Design.
Secularists are less willing to accept the ideas of believers (ideas they regularly deride as dangerous, deluded, dumb) because they worry (appropriately) that they are losing the international debate. A point of view confident of its own arguments wouldn’t make the case for “bans” or “suppression” --as Sir Elton John did so fatuously in his recent interview.
At the conclusion of the conversation, he all but concedes that the “hatred and spite” he imputes to organized religion never really applied to him or interfered with his personal pursuit of happiness. “I don’t know what it is with me,” he sighed. “People treat me very reverently. It was the same when Dave and I had our civil union – I was expecting the odd flour bomb and there wasn’t. Dave and I as a couple seem to be the acceptable face of gayness, and that’s great.”
It might also be “great” if Sir Elton and other committed secular leftists adopted the same respectful attitude of live-and-let live toward religious believers (those “hateful lemmings”) that most of the faithful so readily accord to them.