In my experience, when a person says, “To me, religion is a private matter”, what they are really saying is, “Privately, religion does not matter to me.”
I read this time and again when preparing to live in Denmark for a month this fall; and yet, when living there, I found that while all of them would agree that religion was a private affair, not a one of them had ever given a moment’s thought to anything at all religious. The same holds true in America—those same people who are so shy about their private thoughts on religion are surprisingly loose-lipped on politics, business philosophy, foreign policy, science, and basically any other subject. How strange that we modern Americans and Danes live in cultures where talking about drugs and sex is fine for a public comedy routine, yet religion is to be kept as a “private” affair and not discussed in the public arena!
It would be nice if we all would just be a bit more honest with each other, wouldn’t it?