Tags: london | religion | idols

Author London: Modern Idols Skew U.S. Values

By Lowell Ponte   |   Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 04:43 PM

Herbert London, president of the influential Hudson Institute think tank, believes that a godless religion shares some traits with God-based faith, but not in a good way

London sat down for an interview with Newsmax to reflect on his 14th book:

NEWSMAX: Your new book is titled “America’s Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion.” But isn’t godless secularism the opposite of God-oriented religion?

LONDON: In a way it is, and yet what has happened is that the characteristics of a religion — namely prophets, a Bible, and doctrines — an be found in what I’m describing as the rise of a new religion. The prophets generally can be found on the West Side of Manhattan; the Bible is the New York Times Editorial Page; the doctrines are atheism, moral relativism, multiculturalism, sexual freedom, and the loss of national confidence. My book goes through what I regard as the characteristics of this new religion.

NEWSMAX: Should we think of secular-humanist belief systems such as Marxism or national socialism as pagan religious cults that want to drive competing religions out of the public square?

[Editor's Note: Read a review of London’s book” — Go Here Now].

LONDON: They do want to drive Christianity and Judaism out of the public square. Father Richard Neuhaus once used the expression “the naked public square,” but the public square is never naked. There are always people who have views, and those views are part of what becomes the national amalgam.

This new national religion represents a relatively small portion of the population, but it has a more profound influence than its numbers might suggest. I don’t condemn all secularism. Secularism, even as the Pope once indicated, can be a very appropriate way of neutralizing the most toxic forms of religion. My book is about radical secularism.

NEWSMAX: Secularists often use the phrase “separation of church and state” from one of Thomas Jefferson’s private letters. But unlike those on the secular left who quote him today, Jefferson wanted the state kept very, very small, leaving the public square with lots of room for freedom of religion.

LONDON: I think that it was never freedom “from” religion, I think it was freedom “of” religion. I think Jefferson understood that. Jefferson used the expression “unalienable rights,” the rights provided by our Creator. There isn’t a European state, or for that matter a state anywhere else in the world, where rights are derived from any other body except the state. But if the state confers rights, then those rights can be taken away, as opposed to a system like ours where the rights cannot be withdrawn largely because they’re provided by our Creator. I believe that the most significant event of the last thousand years has been the founding of the United States.

NEWSMAX: Speaking of values, one of your three daughters, Stacy London, is an international television star and fashion maven as co-host of the popular TLC cable channel show, “What Not to Wear.” She’s said of you, “We don’t see eye to eye on that much politically, but he did instill a certain sense of propriety and right and wrong in me, which plays into my fashion sensibility.”

LONDON: I see her conservative instincts come to the surface. If someone on the program wears an outfit where her breasts are exposed, Stacy will say, “Would you please cover up?” Or when a youngster bares her midriff, Stacy says, “You know, you’re never going to get anywhere in professional life if you dress like that.” This is something that was passed down, and I feel very good about it.

[Editor’s Note: Get Herbert London’s book. Go here now.]

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