thread: 2007-02-13 : Exorcism

On 2007-02-21, MikeRM wrote:

Local history tends to have a lot to do with how important this is, all right.

In most of Europe, for a given region the religion was decided by the ruler, so everyone was pretty much the same (or one of a couple of different options, usually Catholic and Protestant and maybe Jewish) and the issue dropped largely into the background (as long as you went along with the ruler). America was founded in part by people who couldn't live with that, and that's one of the reasons it came into the foreground. The whole "Congress shall make no law..." thing was an attempt to make sure that the government just kept out of the whole mess. Sadly, it didn't work.

I live in New Zealand, where there's no established church in the sense of a state church (as there is in most of Europe), but more people are Anglican than anything else. (Although I think that may finally have been overtaken by "no religion" in last year's census.) The early settlers here were not, in the majority of cases, religiously motivated and so there's always been a lot of diversity, the Government for the most part does keep out of the whole mess, and most people don't have a big issue. In fact, if you work for the Government you are likely to experience a lot of prayer in the workplace, because it's part of Maori custom to begin anything important with a prayer and the Government is very culturally sensitive. Which floors my American wife completely - both that it happens, and that people of all religions and none generally seem unbothered by it.


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