Although it’s been a long time coming, this seems to be the year that America officially enters its post-religious phase. Aside from those Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby folks having to go all the way to the Supreme Court to opt out of paying for abortifacient coverage, and some bakers reluctant about baking same-sex wedding cakes being fined and sent off to re-education camps, not to mention the current presidential campaigns, this was also the year that The Holy Bible first cracked the American Library Association’s top-ten-most-challenged book lists.
The rest of the list is admittedly the sort of thing that the more sternly religious have long objected to public funds being spent on, which is a difficult question for such strict free speech advocates and staunch stewards of publics funds and lifelong library lovers and committed cultural conservatives and occasional readers of subversive literature such as ourselves, but c’mon, The Holy Bible? Even those who would dismiss the book as a bunch of Abrahamic hooey should acknowledge that it has nonetheless exerted a significant influence on the history of the West in general and America in particular, at least until recently, and that there is some poetically good and still-relevant stuff in there, and that surely it should be available to inquisitive readers at the local library. Given the recent stridency of the anti-Judeo-Christian elements of America, though, we’re not at all surprised.
This is also a year when the front-runners in both of the two major political parties still claim some religious affiliation, even if no one takes either claim any more seriously than they did the claims of the current two-term president, but the Democratic challenger is doing quite well despite freely admitting he has no religious beliefs and the Republican challenger seems at a disadvantage because of his unabashed religiosity. The Little Sisters of the Poor might yet have to pay for abortifacient coverage, and those recalcitrant bakers are being mocked, and even that unabashedly religious Republican is reduced to defending the right of the last remaining dissenters to opt out of the cultural revolution that’s been unleashed, and by now the left’s long-feared “Handmaiden’s Tale” Christian theocracy seems rather far-fetched. The irreligious aren’t so fecund as the religious, which suggests ominous long-term trends, but for the moment, at least, they seem to have won out.
This will come as good news to the anti-religious sorts who can rightly note all the religious manias that have often beset mankind, even if they have to overstate the crimes of Judeo-Christian civilization and make elaborate excuses for other religions that are best left unmentioned, but we note that humans of all theological beliefs or un-beliefs have always been prone to manias. Russia and the subsequent Soviet Union were rigorously atheist and extraordinary murderous, as was Maoist China, and their imitators from Cambodia to Cuba to Uganda as well, even as a still more-or-less Judeo-Christian West still thrived, even here in the last-holdout land of America the post-religious manias are at least as crazy as anything religion ever produced. Rock stars are canceling shows in states that won’t allow creepy men claiming to be women to hang around women’s restrooms, as are self-proclaimed women’s rights advocates, and we’re not at all sure if the “Saturday Night Live” arbiters of public opinion are actually mocking a woman who doesn’t want to bake a same-sex wedding cake, and any objection to the conviction that mankind bit of the technological apple and was removed from a state of nature into Anthropological Global Warming should be punished by the law are now mainstream ideas.
We’re not electing a preacher-in-chief, as we’re constantly told by the supporters of the front-runners in both parties, but we’d like to think that we’re electing someone who holds to the traditions that have until recently made the West great. We’re willing to let all the pro-same-sex-marriage and kind bondage stuff have a place in the library, so long as The Holy Bible also has a place there, and you can get married to someone of the same sex so far as we’re concerned if you don’t force someone to bake a cake for it, but a society raised by “baby mommas” and “baby daddies” isn’t going to fare are well as one raised by husbands and wives, and that creepy guy claiming to be a woman in the local restroom is going to be a problem, and the post-religious manias won’t be any better than the religious ones.
— Bud Norman