Moderate Is As Moderate Does

[Editor's Note: Please welcome Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy back to Daylight Atheism! Regular readers from before my move to Big Think will remember her as a dedicated defender of feminism and secularism and one of DA's most prolific guest authors. New readers can read my introduction of her here, or see her past posts. —Adam Lee]

By Sarah Jane Braasch-Joy

In loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)

I am beyond sick and tired of reading about moderate Islamists and moderate Christianists. I am beyond sick and tired of reading about claims to moderation, because such and such Islamist group is only going to impose the hijab (headscarf) upon women in public, and not the niqab (face veil) or burqa (full body covering), or because such and such Christianist allows for exceptions to his/her anti-abortion stance for rape and incest and when the life of the woman is in danger.

A religionist, be it an Islamist or a Christianist or what have you, is anyone who wishes to impose religious law upon others, even if only a little bit, or even if only as much as they can get away with. Religionists are not content to adhere to their religions' moral codes themselves. Oh, no. This does not satisfy. The religionist is not happy until others are forced to abide by this same religious law as well. With few exceptions, and woefully at that, we could replace the term "religious adherent" with religionist. This doesn't only have to occur via the apparatus of the state. Religionists impose religious law upon others, very often alleged members of their own religious "communities," especially women and children, via customary law and various forms of coercion, including violence and threats of violence.

Guess what? There is NO such thing as a moderate religionist, be it an Islamist or a Christianist or what have you.

If you are trying to impose religious law upon others, even if only a little bit, or even if only as much as you can get away with, this does NOT make you a moderate.

It just makes you a religious tyrant and an asshole. Not just an asshole, but a religious one at that.

Do you know what is the moderate position? SECULARISM is the moderate position.

Secularism allows religious diversity and religious freedom to flourish while protecting the human, constitutional, and civil rights of all citizens and residents, including those most vulnerable to religious persecution, women and children.

We need to put a stop to this abuse of language. I refuse to allow religious tyranny to subsume the definition of moderation.

Tyranny is never the moderate position.

Image credit: Steve Rhodes, released under CC BY-ND 2.0 license

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