Add Daniel Henninger to the list of idiots blaming the financial crisis on ... wait for it ... atheists! You know the atheists - they are the people deemed too small a group to have their concerns considered by society writ large, but are more than capable of being responsible for all of society's ills.
"It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions."
As usual, there is no evidence to support any of these contentions: that there is any connection between secularization and deregulation, that those criticial of Southern evangelicals are predominantly atheists or Northerners, that said evangelicals offer anything in the way of unique useful virtue, or that the rejection of their anachronistic view of the world has anything to do with politics. Henninger is simply making shit up as he goes. I believe when people do that with respect to Christians, they are called bigots.
"The point for a healthy society of commerce and politics is not that religion saves, but that it keeps most of the players inside the chalk lines. We are erasing the chalk lines."
Right, which is why our prisons are overflowing with believers, and religious people (Mark Foley, Ted Haggert, etc.) are constantly involved in scandel. Simple observable reality suggests little connection between piety and morality. When considering that religion underlies and fuels much of the terrorism in the world, one can be forgiven for considering the possibility that religion undermines morality.
Furthermore, secularization is not about erasing the chalk lines of right and wrong behavior. It is about placing them in a more productive and relevant place than goat herders living 2,000 years ago could have possibly imagined.