OFFTOPIC Secularism [was Re: Bigotry and hate speech on the python mailing list]

Steve D'Aprano steve+python at
Tue Apr 18 12:54:49 EDT 2017

On Tue, 18 Apr 2017 03:19 pm, Marko Rauhamaa wrote:

> Rustom Mody <rustompmody at>:
>> On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 6:18:06 AM UTC+5:30, Ethan Furman wrote:
>>> You mean all the non-religious people?
>>> Because some of your signatures don't feel welcoming to people of
>>> faith:
>> Thanks Ethan for bullseyeing the problem to the leftie-libbie lie
>> called 'secularism'
> (You must be trolling, Rustom, but...)
> Expressing one's (secular) faith is not bigotry, hate-speech or
> harassment. It is questionable whether such expressions have a place in
> a technology newsgroup, but the practice is as old as Usenet itself.

Secularism is not a faith-based philosophy, at least not if you are doing it
right. Nor is secularism necessarily opposed to religion.

I'm not sure what Rustom thinks is a "lie" about secularism, or why he
thinks that it is "leftie-libbie" (a left-handed woman called Elizabeth?),
or for that matter why he thinks secularism belongs to a single political

Opponents of secularism have included atheists like the fascist Mussolini
and the communist Stalin, as well as religious fanatics who want their
religion to have all the political power.

On the other hand, supporters of secular society have included:

- deists like Thomas Jefferson and other signers of 
  the American Declaration of Independence;

- theists like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke;

- pacifists like Bertrand Russell;

- aggressively anti-religious atheists like Richard Dawkins;

- accommodationist left-leaning agnostics like Stephen J Gould;

- right-leaning militant "new atheists" like Sam Harris;

- radical left-wingers like Peter Singer;

- AltRight white nationalists like Richard Spencer;

to say nothing of the many religious people around the world (whether they
are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish or something else) who
believe that religion is a fine thing in the church and perhaps even the
home but that education, government and the law should be secular.

So there's a pretty wide-spread support for secular society, from people of
many races, colours, creeds, religions and even no religion at all.

Please pardon my unfortunate focus on Western individuals; there are many
equally secular people outside the West, such as the original drafters of
the Bangladesh Constitution (including Kamal Hossain), but I'm less
familiar with them.

“Cheer up,” they said, “things could be worse.” So I cheered up, and sure
enough, things got worse.

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