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RE: [wc] Over in Tomorrowland

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  • Peter Staudenmaier
    Hi Diana, ... I think you mean this one: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/15829 My position is that the US version of church / state
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 7, 2011
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      Hi Diana,


      > You wrote a great short summary on this a few weeks (months?) back -
      > about not just the basic US/European differences in this regard but why
      > in your opinion ditching church/state separation in the US would have
      > very different outcomes than it has in Europe.
      > As you seem to be very thorough about filing your own posts would you
      > happen to know which one I mean?


      I think you mean this one:


      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/15829


      My position is that the US version of church / state separation is very important in US contexts, since in the US public sphere cultural secularism is pretty much always on the defensive, in contrast to much of Europe. In light of that American cultural background, the particular constitutional safeguards embodied in the establishment clause are crucial to maintaining whatever modicum of secular civil society is still present in the US. There is absolutely nothing wrong, in my view, with religious institutions or religious schools or religious educational initiatives, esoteric or exoteric or otherwise, and in European contexts where secular culture is broadly protected without recourse to formal church / state separation, I don't have strong objections to public funding for such institutions. In the US, however, that would represent a significant breach in one of the few functioning bulwarks that preserve a minimal degree of secular public life.

      One peculiar facet of this topic, on the rare occasions when esotericists will deign to address it in the first place, is the severely misguided notion that dismantling secular safeguards would be a good thing for esoteric groups. It would much more likely be a catastrophe for esoteric groups, who would be that much more unprotected against the domination of mainstream religious organizations. Among its other virtues, secularism provides necessary breathing space for minority spiritual viewpoints, which would be lost if the fundamental institutions of secular society were abandoned. In the contemporary US, that would be very bad news not just for atheists and agnostics and unbelievers, but for myriad believers as well. I think this basic situation would probably be clearer to anthroposophists if they would get over their own spirit-scoffing and familiarize themselves with the broad range of religious realities in today's world.


      Peter S.
    • winters_diana
      Yes, thanks! Your follow-up here is very helpful also IMO. Personally, I think if I were European I would still be opposed to state funding of religious
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 7, 2011
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        Yes, thanks! Your follow-up here is very helpful also IMO.
        Personally, I think if I were European I would still be opposed to state funding of religious schools. But I think your summary of the basic differences is spot-on.

        Anthroposophists in the US need to think very seriously about what church/state separation actually means, the implications of the idea and the history of the idea in America.

        If church/state separation were dismantled here, for anthroposophists I think it would be a case of "Be careful what you wish for."



        --- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, Peter Staudenmaier <pstaud@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Hi Diana,
        >
        >
        > > You wrote a great short summary on this a few weeks (months?) back -
        > > about not just the basic US/European differences in this regard but why
        > > in your opinion ditching church/state separation in the US would have
        > > very different outcomes than it has in Europe.
        > > As you seem to be very thorough about filing your own posts would you
        > > happen to know which one I mean?
        >
        >
        > I think you mean this one:
        >
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/15829
        >
        >
        > My position is that the US version of church / state separation is very important in US contexts, since in the US public sphere cultural secularism is pretty much always on the defensive, in contrast to much of Europe. In light of that American cultural background, the particular constitutional safeguards embodied in the establishment clause are crucial to maintaining whatever modicum of secular civil society is still present in the US. There is absolutely nothing wrong, in my view, with religious institutions or religious schools or religious educational initiatives, esoteric or exoteric or otherwise, and in European contexts where secular culture is broadly protected without recourse to formal church / state separation, I don't have strong objections to public funding for such institutions. In the US, however, that would represent a significant breach in one of the few functioning bulwarks that preserve a minimal degree of secular public life.
        >
        > One peculiar facet of this topic, on the rare occasions when esotericists will deign to address it in the first place, is the severely misguided notion that dismantling secular safeguards would be a good thing for esoteric groups. It would much more likely be a catastrophe for esoteric groups, who would be that much more unprotected against the domination of mainstream religious organizations. Among its other virtues, secularism provides necessary breathing space for minority spiritual viewpoints, which would be lost if the fundamental institutions of secular society were abandoned. In the contemporary US, that would be very bad news not just for atheists and agnostics and unbelievers, but for myriad believers as well. I think this basic situation would probably be clearer to anthroposophists if they would get over their own spirit-scoffing and familiarize themselves with the broad range of religious realities in today's world.
        >
        >
        > Peter S.
        >
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