1. It’s in the Constitution. First part, first sentence, First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”
2. Theocratic nations are culturally backward. Think Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Vatican City.
3. Religion is bad for business. Although many churches, synagogues and mosques operate essentially as non-profit businesses, they don’t pay property or sales taxes. Community tax bases suffer. And overtly religious enterprises tend to scare away high-tech employers. Would you want to locate a bio-tech business next to the Creation Museum?
4. Religious displays on public property are offensive. If a nativity scene seems harmless, ask yourself how you would feel about a tribute to Islam in your town square.
5. Calling an organization “faith-based” is a way to rationalize discrimination. Denying leadership roles to women and gays is not an American value.
6. Your reproductive rights are at stake. If you have ever thought about having a baby or not having a baby, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will most likely have a say in what contraception you are “allowed” to have and how much it costs. Their unprecedented influence on Congress means fewer women will receive insurance plans covering family planning services.
7. Your kid won’t get the education he/she deserves. Pity the small town of Mount Vernon, Ohio, where Christian activist and public school science teacher John Freshwater kept a Bible on his desk, preached against evolution and burned crosses into student arms with a Tesla coil. His firing cost the school board half a million dollars and years of stress.
8. Prayer before public meetings is unnecessary. And not inclusive.
9. Science-denying makes for poor public policy. If you care about life-saving stem cell research, for example, separation of church and state should be your battle cry.
10. Atheists should not have to fake belief. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”