Which, Not Whether, Religion

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President Obama is on record for disclaiming America as a "Christian nation," claiming that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation." This is nonsense.

Being “bound by ideals and a set of values” untethered to any systematic moral framework is going to involve a very fluid and expedient understanding of those ideals and values. Systematic theology (i.e., religion) provides a framework in which such ideals and values can exist in a non-arbitrary fashion, in which their respective priorities can be assessed, and in which practical application can be worked out. The ideals and values without the originating framework will last only so long as they are expedient to some other end. That ad hoc system of reorienting and reprioritizing the ideals and values forms the basis of a new religion, to the chagrin of contemporary disestablishmentarians. Rinse and repeat.

The question is always what our religion is, not whether we have one.

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