Benjamin Wiker Announced as Presidential Scholar
Establishing the church of secularism by enforcing the doctrine of toleration
New York, April 16, 2012—Although the New York City government is trying to force churches out of their public school meeting places, Dr. Benjamin Wiker argues that one church will never be kicked out: the Established Church of Secularism.
Wiker, a philosopher and writer, claims that a faulty reliance on the phrase “the separation of church and state” – text that does not, in fact, appear in the Constitution – acts to silence religious groups in the name of tolerance and accommodation. This leads to a regime of secularism, complete with its own set of values, dogmas, commandments, and presuppositions.
In April, Wiker will make his case in a series of lectures in New York City at The King’s College as part of the Presidential Scholars Program. He will be at King’s for one week, beginning April 16.
“Our nation is embroiled in many crises that are—at their roots—intellectual, moral, and spiritual. We need statesmen and stateswomen who will defend timeless truths against the aggression of the new atheism and the radical secularism that we see in society today,” said Dinesh D’Souza, President of The King’s College.
The Presidential Scholars Program brings some of today’s finest thinkers to our Empire State Building campus. In New York, Scholars will speak to our students, work with our faculty, and defend ideas about God, limited government, and free enterprise in the public square.
Rather than enforced toleration, Wiker argues, secularism, Christianity, and every other religion ought to be free to debate the merits of their ideas in the public square. Thus, in New York, churches should be allowed to present a case that when they meet in public schools, their mere presence is not proselytizing or government establishment of religion. Indeed, Christian churches regularly contribute to their communities and ought to be able to exercise their freedom of religion without fear of governmental quashing of that right.
New York City’s actions against Christian churches are documented in a years-long legal battle started by a church in the Bronx. But these actions raise tough questions about our nation’s commitment to the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of religion. Indeed, many say that the freedom of religion is pre-eminent among the many rights secured to the nation’s citizens in the Constitution. When churches and religious citizens find themselves silenced in the public in the name of “the separation of church and state,” however, what is the justification?
Is a rigid separation of church and state a tool used by secularists to enforce their underlying belief that all religions are created equal – or even that religion has no place in a sophisticated society? Is this what the Founding Fathers wanted?
Wiker’s lectures at King’s—many of which will be filmed and put online—will explore the nature of America’s commitment to religious freedom and whether in its pursuit to accommodate all religions, it is enforcing secularism to the detriment of religious organizations.
Dr. Wiker received his B.A. in Political Philosophy from Furman University, his M.A. in Religion from Vanderbilt University, and his Ph.D in Theological Ethics from Vanderbilt. He has published nine books and is a full-time writer and lecturer studying the intersections of the histories of science, philosophy, politics, morality, and theology. His recent books include The Catholic Church & Science: Answering the Questions, Exposing the Myths and Ten Books that Screwed Up the World.
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building in New York City.
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