American sociopolitical leaders have decided the country should abandon its Judeo-Christian history in favor of atheism for the convenience of government. The Obama Administration is attacking Jewish and Christian, especially Catholic, institutions along populist lines to implement that policy. Local governments are following suit here and there, usually via zoning and use control regulation. Chaplains are restricted in preaching; those in the military have been pressured to perform gay marriages. Jewish circumcision is under attack as well. These policies find little opposition since the general public has been increasingly abandoning regular church attendance for several generations, while clerical vocations have declined in proportion.
No government is happy with the existence of churches; Napoleon famously remarked that the people must have a religion, and that religion must be controlled by the state. As both churches and government claim authority to tell people what to do and demand a share of their money, competition is built in to their coexistence and conflict is inevitable. It’s notable that where a church becomes a theocracy, other churches are the first suppressed institutions, so far as possible. Where government is irreligious, it puts churches under its thumb as in Russian Orthodoxy or Chinese churches in general. Democratically elected governments are more subtle, as with French or Latin American Catholicism but no government, facing such competition, ever accommodates happily. God’s first Commandment is “I am the Lord, thy God, and thou shalt not have strange gods before Me”. That’s how churches, claiming to be His representative, stand and governments take the same view of their own position. There’s really only room for one such power in the long run.
However one may feel about this, there are some very fundamental and inarguable, effects on people’s lives. If one lives in a religiously Judeo-Christian society for instance, the historical moral system built upon the 10 Commandments is assumed; that extends through both private and public behavior. And, given that it is handed down by God, it binds government as well as individuals.
In America, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution specifically frame government into this, which explains the tendency of pro-government authorities to ignore the Declaration and ‘interpret’ the Constitution.
This means that citizens of Judeo-Christian places have a security, a generally accepted behavior that all can rely upon in conducting affairs. It also means that in irreligious places where the only authority is government, that sort of security is unavailable. One may rely upon the desires of successful politicians, and nothing else. The United States moved strongly in that direction with the legitimizing of convenience abortion; by that decision, it is tacitly admitted that government may decide life and death for its convenience.
Western civilization has moved away from its religious origins, through religious tolerance that legally equated churches, toward today’s increasingly militant atheistic government and social order. Government actions and court decisions are forcibly removing visible religion from official life as well as attacking religious practices with legislation such as Obamacare. Western society seems to be divesting itself of its religious foundations as fast as it is able.
Churches are troublesome, they want to give you orders and demand your money and your total loyalty, insisting that all competitors are false and fatal. But they pay off with good order and predictable behavior of both society and even more valuable, government. In abandoning them, their nuisance is removed from people and also from government, both of whom are freed to do as the please, to the extent government decides to allow. Historically, that has been an uncomfortable situation in which to live, since you can’t expect others to want what you want them to want. It adds up to this: When considering abandoning religion, be careful what you ask for…