The separation of church and state sounds good to me. So does the end of all suffering, war, inequality … etcetera.

Oh well. Back in reality, I’m not so optimistic. Unlike some of the atheist authors - whom otherwise I generally agree with - I don’t think a world without politically-impacting religion is worth talking about, let alone holding out for. This stuff is innate phenomena. It will always emerge of human nature; to deny that is a bad start to any ideology.

Considering its expectations for the relevant individuals (i.e. the religious), I’m not sure secularism is an intelligible idea. If as an individual you are ("privately") religious, why or how would or could you be simultaneously prepared to be ("publicly") secular?

For better or worse, your religion is your universal moral world-view. Your politics are your worldly moral world-view. Surely, the former contains the latter. ‘Separating’ them makes as much sense as separating ‘fish’ from ‘cod’. (Unless politics is thought to be only a bureaucratic and amoral domain - in which case we’re stuffed anyway.)

For these reasons, I’m a pessimist.

(The picture is a Hillsong Pentecostal service in London in 2008. That’s not a spiritual aura emanating from the worshipper's hand; it’s an onstage light show.)