the other faith-based initiatives
One of the very weird* things i’ve noticed lately is that religious people — more strictly, people who subscribe to domesticated religions — exhibit a much greater understanding of the separation of church and state and the unalienability of the right to criticize than the vacuously spiritual alt med advocates who have been sprouting like mushrooms in the Valleys.
Unlike the Christians (and, to a lesser extent, Hindus) i meet, who affirm noninterference between schools, courthouses, and other government establishments on one hand and religious institutions on the other (the existence of extremists notwithstanding), and even discourage tax-exemption status for churches, the promulgators of disorganized religions and of spiritual worldviews tend, it seems, to promote the government endorsement of spiritual or superstitious medicine, calling for coverage for acupuncture, homeopathy, Hoxsey treatment, and other unsubstantiated treatments by Medicare and other government health care, while they ignore attempts by medical organizations or by multinational corporations to silence independent criticism of their dubious advertising claims.
Part of what makes this seem weird to me is the relative absence of religious adherents calling for the government sponsorship of prayer clinics. Yes, they call for government-sponsored prayer, but despite the absurd official releases my moderately informed impression is that most supporters of such events are in it for the cultural heritage. Most of them would take afflicted children to hospitals rather than gather a prayer circle at home as they waste away.
The other part is that no one seems to be calling this interference for what it is — a burgeoning violation of the wall of separation. If these spiritualists want their more tranquil mythologies to be recognized as bona fide religions (as many wiccans and neopagans do) then they should be prepared to stick to the private sector.
I’m personally hoping to see religiosity per se take hold among alt med advocates, that it might be properly classified (and thereby veritably renounced) by government institutions as well.
* Of course, weirdness is probabilistic — dependent on prior knowledge — so that something is “weird” to me is another way of saying that i’m not well-informed about it.