>Stanley Hauerwas — US is More Secular than Britain

>Stanley Hauerwas lecturing on Friday morning i...Image by Jordon via Flickr

 Stanley Hauerwas has an article in The Guardian this weekend where he addresses the professed atheism of Ed Millband, the leader of the Labour Party in Britain.  Some hold this up as an example of how much more secular Britain is than the US.  After all, people in the US can’t imagine what it would look like to have a professed atheist running for office over here.  It’s assumed that all of our leaders must be Christian or we’ll end up going to hell in a handbasket. 

But, is that really true?  Because England has a atheist party leader does that make them more secular?  Perhaps a lot of that depends on how we view the faith one finds in the US.

Here’s what Stanley Hauerwas has to say:

I am not convinced that the US is more religious than Britain. Even if more people go to church in America, I think the US is a much more secular country than Britain. In Britain, when someone says they do not believe in God, they stop going to church. In the US, many who may have doubts about Christian orthodoxy may continue to go to church. They do so because they assume that a vague god vaguely prayed to is the god that is needed to support family and nation.

Americans do not have to believe in God, because they believe that it is a good thing simply to believe: all they need is a general belief in belief.

And, I would argue, for our leaders, the more vague their belief, the better…

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