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Mr. Rob Boston 5 — The Future is Digital: Out of the Woodwork, the Metalwork, and Into the Silicon-Work

2023-01-03

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/02/06

Rob Boston is the Senior Advisor and Editor for Church and State of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is the monthly membership magazine. He began work at Americans United in 1987 and authored four books entitled Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (Prometheus Books, 2000), The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition (Prometheus Books, 1996), Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003), and Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You The Right To Tell Other People What To Do (Prometheus Books, 2014). Mr. Boston can be contacted here: boston@au.org.

This series covers secularism strictly within the American context for the consumption of 18-to-35-year-olds. In this interview session, we cover national secular culture as an imperative for equality for all.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Our previous future came to pass. It’s currentist rather than futurist in some ways. How do we maintain the wins for the secular principles seen so greatly enhancing human life in the United States?

Rob Boston: I will be honest: In the United States, that is going to be a challenge in the years to come. President Trump is stacking our courts with judges who are hostile to church-state separation. Even if he is not re-elected in November, it’s going to take a long time to fix that. I’m advising our activists to remember the importance of having a long game. Keep working. Keep laying the groundwork for victories yet to come. In the case of some older activists, they must realize that they may not live to see the victories that will come eventually. It is still important to do the work so that the next generation can live in freedom. Our country is changing. It is becoming more secular and more diverse. That tide simply can’t be held back so things will change for the better in the long run. But in the short run, we will face some rocky times.

Jacobsen: Institutionally, what are the strong points for the secular-freethought community and the secular-religious communities? Those who share common core values on this subject matter of the instantiation of laws and institutions permitting true live-and-let-live philosophy as national culture.

Boston: As I said above, America is changing. For example, more and more people are turning away from organized religion. This does not necessarily mean they are abandoning religion, but clearly, growing numbers of people are laying claim to a spiritual life outside of the walls of houses of worship. Sometimes the law leads the culture, and sometimes the culture leads the law. I think this is one of those cases where the culture is leading.

Jacobsen: Legally, what are the strong points along the lines of the previous question? How is the ease of spreading information in the Computer Age helping share knowledge about secular activism efforts?

Boston: The changes we’ve seen in the past 20 years or so have been nothing short of remarkable. I remember the days when, from a political angle, there really was no secular activism. Now we have a national organization, the Secular Coalition for America (a group I’m proud to work with), representing the interests of secular Americans in Congress. Secular Americans are also getting more active at the state and local levels. The rise of the internet and social media has made it possible for people to share information and strategy a lightning speed. Another positive trend is that more and more political leaders are declaring themselves secular. It’s a small cohort, but it’s growing. Declaring yourself secular or non-religious is no longer a death sentence for a politician, and a small majority of Americans now tell pollsters they’d be willing to vote for an atheist for high office. I think a lot of this is due to the increasing visibility of secular Americans, which has been greatly enhanced by modern methods of communication.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Mr. Boston.

Boston: Thank you.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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