Secular / by Karie Luidens


Recent peaceful marches and past violent marches couldn’t seem more different, but they do share one common trait: marches indicate cultural change. For better or for worse. Who knows what lies ahead for us all.

As for what’s already come to pass, I think Jack Loeffler captures the cultural effect of my country’s westward invasion in Voices of Counterculture in the Southwest: what the United States has ultimately imposed wherever it’s expanded is

a culture where success was measured in terms of money, where consumerism was a reason to be, a culture now the militarily mightiest in the world, a culture driven to secularize habitat and turn it into money by mining its minerals, developing the land with little or no regard for the landscape or its denizens. (pp 19-20)

“A culture driven to secularize habitat.” Yes: precisely. If the opposite of “native” is “invasive,” wouldn’t the opposite of “sacred” be “secular”? The United States is indeed an invasive species here in the West, and the “economic or environmental harm” it has caused—submitting healthy homeland and farmland and hunting grounds and wilderness to brute, polluting resource extraction and cheap sites for commerce—could be summed up as the secularization of sacred land.