Thanks to Crystal and Niels for providing the following handout from last Sunday's discussion on secularism.
5 Reasons for the Separation of Church and State...
The Dangers of a State-Enforced Religion are:
1) Denial of Quality Education
Children who are only taught creation science in school are being cheated of the right to understand the scientific method. Teachers which distort empirical data to serve a religious agenda are doing a great disservice to their students; which will negatively impact their future job qualifications.
(eg. 2008, Mount Vernon, Ohio, Christian activist and public school science teacher John Freshwater kept a Bible on his desk, preached against evolution and burned crosses into student arms with a Tesla coil. In this case, the practice was not only academically illegitimate but crossed into physical abuse.)
2) Weakening of the Economy
The long term result of children provided with a poor science education is a less skilled work-force which is unable to compete in the global economy. A weaker economy leads to recessions and a decline of the quality of life for everyone in the country. Plus, state enforced religion would tend to scare away international high-tech employers.
(i.e. Few companies would want to locate a bio-tech business next to a Creation Museum.)
3) “Faith-based” Discrimination
A state religion could easily legitimize discrimination. Many strides in civil liberties could be quickly undone by a faith-based government.
(eg. Denying leadership roles to women, minorities and gays.)
4) The Undermining of Reproductive Rights
A state religion could reverse strides which secular societies have made in reproductive rights.
(eg. Catholics banning Contraception, Christians banning Abortion)
5) Denial of Freedom from Religion (The Oppression of Non-believers)
Imagine the insult to freedom which would be imposed by enforced prayer at public events?
No-one should ever be forced by the state to pretend beliefs which they do not hold (as they do in places like Iran). A state religion leads to an oppressive environment where all non-believers have to lie about their beliefs to survive and where free-thought is outlawed. Therefore, a state enforced religion is an open door to legalized oppression and should be condemned by those who value free-inquiry and civil liberties.