Haven’t we had enough of that already? Well, that depends on what you mean by ‘faith’. George Bush apparently believes that ‘faith’ means the ‘Christian faith’. He’s wrong. There are many faiths (in this sense) and all faith-based states, no matter whether Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Muslim, always ended up murdering and suppressing believers of other faiths. So let’s first be clear about what we mean by ‘faith’.
If it means a specific religion, we are dead against faith-based politics, as we are against faith-based states. The secular state allowing (encouraging even) the worship and practice of all serious religions has proven to be more peaceful than the faith-based state. So the separation of Church and State must stay and faith-based politics in this sense (i.e. striving to establish a faith-based state) should be discouraged. But within the secular state, all serious religions should be encouraged.
What religions should be allowed?
We stated above that all serious religions should be allowed, or encouraged even. Does this imply that there exist ‘unserious’ religions? Yes, it does imply that. There do exist a few (thank God) small ‘satanist’ religions, which we think should not be encouraged, although we fail to see how you can stop them legally. The burden of proof would be on the state that these religions worship the devil. Now, how on earth can you prove that somebody or a group is worshiping the devil, unless they openly say so? Some actually do say so openly, but if you would shut them down, they would soon stop saying so and secretly continue their evil worship anyway. The state can keep a better eye on them (i.e. keep them from mischief), if they worship openly.
Moreover, there is a legal problem here, a quagmire even. For if you should start closing down ‘satanist’ temples, there is no doubt you would soon have to set up a kind of inquisition to investigate all churches, sects, religions and groups. There would be no end. And before you know it, we are torturing and water-boarding people again to extract the ‘truth’ out of them. When did that happen before? Ay yes, the Middle Ages! So clearly, prohibiting certain kinds of worship and shutting down certain churches and temples is a remedy worse than the illness. The best policy is to just let them and keep an eye on them. If they are worshiping the devil (whatever that may be!), they’ll soon find out they made a terrible mistake.
Interfaith divine principle
But what if ‘faith’ means ‘a personal belief in a Supreme Being, eternally creating and sustaining the Universe’? It then means the reasoned (or even unreasoned) acceptance of an un-provable hypothesis, conforming nevertheless to the believer’s deepest inner sense and aspiration. If ‘faith’ means that, we’re all for faith-based politics. It would mean that the politics would be based on an interfaith divine principle, which has no definition other than the presumption that it creates and sustains the Universe. All there is. And all of us.
A state without God, is like a house without a foundation. The separation of Church and State does not mean a state without God. We offer no definition of ‘God’. If asked what God is, the only possible answer is silence. God is an un-provable hypothesis. Nevertheless, a hypothesis without which there is nothing.
ARCO has coined the term ‘themocratic state’ for such a universal ‘interfaith-based’ secular state. It’s the mean between democracy and theocracy. It adheres to democratic principles and the separation of Church and State. The state encourages all serious religions, which includes the five largest and most influential ones (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism), but there are many more (Baha’i, Sufism, Sikhism etc. etc.).
But on the other hand, it is also recognized that there must be one state institution to ultimately determine what is right and what is wrong, based on general interfaith spirituality (one might even call it ‘scientific spirituality’). This institution would have to be the judiciary. In this concept the judiciary would have the right, upon request, to review all decisions (including laws) made by the executive and legislative, checking them against a number of general principles of law (including human rights) and if they fail this test, they can be reversed or changed. Although the review is based on human rights and general principles of law, ultimately it is an interpretation by human beings of the divine will, even though we might not express it in those terms.
Deepak Chopra explains a similar concept in his own way. View the video. It is worth your while.