Acton Institute Powerblog

The End of Secularism and the HHS Mandate

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The primary point of my first book, The End of Secularism, was to demonstrate that secularism doesn’t do what it claims to do, which is to solve the problem of religious difference.  As I look at the  administration’s attempt to mandate that religious employers pay for contraceptive products, I see that they have confirmed one of my charges in the book.

I wrote that secularists claim that they are occupying a neutral position in the public square, but in reality they are simply another group of contenders working to implement a vision of community life with which they are comfortable.  And guess what?  They are not comfortable with many of the fundamental beliefs of Christians.  Regrettably, many secularists are also statists.  Thus, their discomfort with Christian beliefs results in direct challenges to them in the form of mandatory public policy.

Collectivism is often very appealing to Christians who want to do good for their neighbors.  Unfortunately, collectivism is frequently a fellow-traveler of aggressive secularism with little respect for religious liberty.  The veil has slipped.  I hope we do not too quickly forget what was revealed in that moment.  Collectivism gives.  But it also takes.  And what it takes is very often precious and irreplaceable.

Hunter Baker Hunter Baker, J.D., Ph.D. serves as contributing editor to The City and to Salvo Magazine. In addition, he has written for The American Spectator, American Outlook, National Review Online, Christianity Today, Human Events.com, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and a number of other outlets. His scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion (“Competing Orthodoxies in the Public Square: Postmodernism’s Effect on Church-State Separation”), the Regent University Law Review (“Storming the Gates of a Massive Cultural Investment: Reconsidering Roe in Light of its Flawed Foundation and Undesirable Consequences”), and the Journal of Church and State. In 2007, he contributed a chapter “The Struggle for Baylor’s Soul” to the edited collection The Baylor Project, published by St. Augustine’s Press. He has also been a guest on a variety of television and radio programs, including Prime Time America and Kresta in the Afternoon. As a law student in the late 1990s, Hunter Baker worked for The Rutherford Institute and Prison Fellowship Ministries where he focused primarily on defending the constitutional principle of religious liberty. Prior to beginning doctoral studies in religion and politics at Baylor University in 2003, he served as director of public policy for the Georgia Family Council. While at Baylor, Baker served as a graduate assistant to the philosopher Francis Beckwith and the historian Barry Hankins. He assisted Beckwith in the editing of his landmark book Defending Life which has now been published by Cambridge University Press. He also provided research assistance to Hankins in his forthcoming biography of Francis Schaeffer. Baker currently serves on the political science faculty at Union University and is an associate dean in the college of arts and sciences. He is married to Ruth Elaine Baker, M.D. They have a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Grace.

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