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Conflict between religion and secular advocates
There will likely always be tension between advocates for religious
beliefs and advocates for secular  or atheist beliefs. Some members of
each of these camps believe that political leaders and systems should
take advice from them in how the government should operate. There is a
very long history of religious leaders believing the government should
support them and encourage religious faith in a nation. Even in the
United States, where separation of church and state is the law of the
land, I can not handle any  piece of money without seeing "In God we
Trust." The Pledge of Allegiance contains the words "one nation under
God." Most religious advocates do not even see these strong clues of
religious influence in our social and political life. And in Britain
an even deeper history of strong religious influence has existed.
Secular views are not protected in Britain by law, and that condition
exists in most countries in the world, including Iran, Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, etc. The Anglican Church is the politically recognized
official religious authority in England by Act of Parliament.
Twenty-six bishops in the Church of England have legal rights to
participate in the House of Lords. Just last week the Queen made one
of the most outspoken speeches of her 60-year reign about the need to
honor the Church.  Her speech included: "We should remind ourselves of
the significant position of the Church of England in our nation's
life." So while advocates for religion in England are decrying recent
court decisions, advocates for secularism and/or atheism feel the time
is long past for religion to continue to play an overly exalted role
in British life.
For different reasons advocates for atheism and secularism, in the
United States are engaging and will continue to engage in friction
filled dialog with advocates for religion in this country. Each side
believes the other side has too much influence in political life and
decisions. So as long as advocates for each side believe the other
side has too much power and influence, the friction will continue.
Steven Gibson

In answer to Valley Sun In theory question Feb 26, 2012

Very religious people have greater wellbeing
This Gallup survey announcement is fascinating. I was very interested in reading the results on the Gallup website. I imagine it is unlikely they will advertised the other finding of the survey, which shows that nonreligious people report higher wellbeing than moderately religious survey respondents.
Gallup clearly explains that the connection between religion and wellbeing in this survey is a correlation, but not an indication of a cause relation between the two. They also point out that one strong factor in the results is a higher incidence of smoking among people with lower wellbeing.
In terms of possible things about religion that could add to a sense of overall wellbeing, the Gallup website suggests several possibilities. I think the best suggestion, they give, is the idea that increased amounts of time spent socially and engaged in social networks might contribute to improved feelings of wellbeing.  Many religions feature community activities prominently as part of their practices. So it is likely that very religious people have supportive social ties and interactions which might improve their feelings of wellbeing; and if they smoke less, these individuals should be physically healthier.
Steven Gibson

In response to March 11, 2012 Valley Sun In theory question.