Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Secular Laws Require Secular Debate

Greetings from Oxford, Mississippi!

So I opened "The Daily Mississippian" (paper for the University of Mississippi) this morning and the cover story is titled "Selling on the Sabbath". There's a movement afoot to change the blue laws and allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays in our community. The story is from a mostly religious perspective, complete with a photograph and quotes from the pastor of the First Baptist Church here in Oxford. I wrote about this pastor here on Mississippi Atheists teaching hurtful things about homosexuality and the abortion procedure to suit his own political leanings.

Personally, I think it's silly to limit the sale of a product to 6 out of 7 days in a week for no other reason than to satisfy someone else's belief system. And I know there are several businesses in town that could benefit from an extra day of sales. This year alone, Valentine's Day and our Double Decker Festival landed on Sunday. This caused several local businesses to loose business due to the current laws. On the other hand, I'm sure people supporting the current laws might cite an increase in drunk driving accidents. The point is that this debate regarding secular laws should remain secular.

But the pastor at the local First Baptist Church wants to inject "spirituality" into the debate:
"Whether you're a person of faith or not, I still think it's a good thing to say you're part of a community that says spiritual things are important." -Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oxford
As a person who does not have faith in anything divine, what the heck is he talking about? I don't recognize anything as being "spiritual". Spirituality is one of those "eye of the beholder" concepts: something is spiritual to you only if you say that it is spiritual to you.

He even tries to play this off as a discussion on love: "This is really about love, it's not about control or being a nagging parent." If he were really standing on the side of love, he would stand in support of homosexuals seeking equal rights and on the side of women who are in struggling situations where an abortion is simply their best option. And I think he should be doing his best to express his concerns without projecting his faith tradition's stances onto others.