Frye on Democracy 4

Frye’s observations below regarding the inimical effects of religious fundamentalism upon democracy are currently being demonstrated by the transformation of the Republican Party into a doomsday cult. Canada has nothing to compare to it yet, but Stephen Harper’s furtive intrusion of his own sheep-and-goats fundamentalist belief into the political and legislative agenda is an indication that it can happen here.

In the course of time the movement begun by the Reformation did achieve one major victory: the gradual spread throughout the Western world of the principle of separation of church and state. Something of the genuine secular benefits of democracy have rubbed off on the religious groups, to the immense benefit of humanity, and depriving religion of all secular or temporal power is one of the most genuinely emancipating movements of our time. It seems to be a general rule that the more “orthodox” or “fundamentalist” a religious attitude is, the more strongly it resents this separation and the more consistently it lobbies for legislation giving its formulas secular authority. Today, in Israel and in much of the Muslim and Hindu world. . .we can clearly see that these religious attitudes are the worst possible basis for a secular society. (CW 4, 174-5)

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