Imagine receiving $1.2 million in your brokerage account as the result of a clerical error. What would you do?
Here’s what Kelyn Spadoni of suburban New Orleans allegedly did: she refused to return the funds, moving them instead into a different account so the bank could not reclaim them, then used some of the money to buy a new car and a house. She has been taken into custody and was fired from her job as a dispatcher for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. So far, about 75 percent of the money has been recovered.
Her story is a parable for a secular society that is spending the cultural “funds” we received from our Judeo-Christian heritage but refuses to acknowledge our debt. This refusal is growing more serious and damaging by the day.
For example, the Supreme Court ruled last Friday that California cannot bar meetings of more than three families from worshipping in a private home. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the decision is the fifth time the Court has overruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on pandemic orders against worship, as an exasperated majority points out.” The Journal editorial adds: “The willfulness of the lower courts in defying the High Court underscores how much religious liberty needs protecting against the militant secular values that now dominate American public life.”
Many secularists think religious liberty is about the right to be wrong, an appeal to an outdated constitutional mandate that protected what educated people now know to be superstition at best and dangerous prejudice at worse. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat notes, many cultural elites are “committed to a moral vision that regards emancipated, self-directed choice as essential to human freedom and the good life.”
But we should ask: Does this “moral vision” work? Does it deliver what it promises? A fascinating article by a religious skeptic offers a perceptive answer.
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SOURCE: Denison Forum, Jim Denison