Word of the Day: Secular

By Daniel Scocco

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Secular is an adjective used to describe things or people that are not religious.

When Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, spoke out a week ago, calling for full national elections instead of the caucus-style balloting envisioned in the American plan for self-rule, most secular politicians concluded that he hoped the voters would elect a theocracy. (NY Times)

Residents of Jerusalem chose a secular businessman to lead one of the world’s most revered and complicated cities, putting an end to five years of ultra-Orthodox Jewish control, election results showed Wednesday. (USA Today)

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4 Responses to “Word of the Day: Secular”

  • Brad K.

    What is the antonym of secular? Sacred, or ecclesiastic, something else?

  • Ron McLaren

    There is a mis-interpretation here of what is meant by ‘secular’.

    It means NEUTRALITY, with no privilege applying to religious or philosophical life views. So does it endorse the right of all to believe in what they wish, compatible with the rights of others.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Brad K., I would say ecclesiastic.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Ron McLaren, here is what the Merriam Webster says:

    1 : of or relating to the worldly or temporal b : not overtly or specifically religious c : not ecclesiastical or clerical

    I believe that is closer to how I described the word than to “neutrality.”

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