On sustainable development, state, religion, and spirituality

In our new seminar series on Sustainable Development, Business & Society, the last portion of the course and discussions look at the “society” component of the move to sustainability, which itself has two primary components: government and individuals. This last of course (i.e., including most notably thee and me) who almost for sure will have quite a lot of adapting to do, if ever we are to be part of the move toward a more sustainable planet.  As part of this we will certainly band together with others in various mainly voluntary associations to help move the process along. And somewhere in all that are the fine arts of (a) communication and (b) leadership, of which the most precious and effective is, I am sure, leadership by example.

Which brings us to what I believe is a more than important subject that needs to be clarified.

Public religiosity as a major barrier to sustainability and social justice:

Confession: I am in utter horror of any intrusion of religion or religious belief or practices into the public sphere.  There must be full separation of church and state in  democratic society worth of the name.

Your religion is your private business. Government is not to interfere in any ways in matters of private religion. Nor are religious groups or any form of religious thinking to intrude into the domain of government.

Looking at this as an American I have to say that I am flabbergasted that this fine Jeffersonian principle is not respected in the US today. To the contrary.  It is to my mind — and by this I mean intrusive public religiosity — along with the stranglehold of established interests and lobbies who profit from the resistance to change, the greatest single force threatening the absolutely vital move to sustainable behaviour.

And for me – just so you know – I also feel the same way about anything to do with spirituality. I want to see the Jeffersonian wall there as well.

At the end of the day it is thee and me and others with whom we might make common cause who have to make our own best decisions, in a finite and ever more cramped world. We will do that as best we can, and for reasons that are our own.

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