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Should secular people actively oppose religious superstition and extremism?

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Should secular people actively oppose religious superstition and extremism?

     Freedom of religion and tolerance for diversity are fundamental principles of American democracy. Believers have the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to follow and proselytize their religious convictions.  

On the other hand, non-believers have the similar rights to follow and promote their secular beliefs, don't they?  Freedom of religion and tolerance should not be used as justification for stifling honest, open discussion. 

Religious extremism and superstition distort our politics and harm society.   On issues such as militarism, women's rights, gay rights, gun control, taxation, climate change, and the dismantling of the social safety net, fundamentalist Christians have allied themselves with the Republican Party.  Fundamentalists have promoted anti-scientific theories such as Creationism and have spread the idea that America was founded as a "Christian nation" -- a view at odds with the historical record.

But is religious belief specially protected?  Even if, constitutionally, secular people are allowed to oppose religious beliefs, it may be the case that doing so is immoral or divisive or strategically unwise.  And we need to be careful not to lump extremist views with harmless or beneficial moderate views.

Should secular people work actively to refute and, where appropriate, condemn religious beliefs? 

Yes, fundamentalists believe ridiculous things and promote regressive policies.
No, religious speech is specially protected.
No, the effort would likely backfire and would be politically and morally unwise.
Not sure, or other. (Please explain in comments.)

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DFA organizer, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See and for my writing, my (more...)
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