Ah, the tired old rhetoric of this argument...
I am forced to find the claim the author of this article makes as patently, laughably ironic.
Consider this line: The strife in Northern Ireland is not a theological dispute about Catholicism vs. Protestantism per se, but rather a cultural power struggle between two groups of people.
Two groups of people indeed! And what is the primary difference between them? Religion! And what about the laws in Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland respectively? They permit discrimination on the basis of religion, not on the basis of British/Irish descent, or place of birth. What then is the conflict about if not religion?
But compare the author's last statement with this one: The greatest evil has resulted from the denial of God, not the pursuit of God. Conservative columnist Dennis Prager has noted, "In this (20 th) century alone, more innocent people have been murdered, tortured and enslaved by secular ideologies — Nazism and communism — than by all religions in history."
Oh, really?? Nazis denied god? Really? They were killing the Jews, supposedly, to pay them back for killing Jesus, but they were denying god all the same... Um, so why exactly did they care about a 2000-year-old political execution? And what about the German Church that supported Nazism and made support of Hitler part of their Christian religious practice. And Nazism which is overtly political and espoused by other Christian leaders including Franco and Mussolini.
And while Communism is not espoused by Christians, but by people who claim to be atheistic, it is likewise on its surface a political and economic ideology. Communism in the 20th century morphed into a totalitarian regime that brooked no loyalty above loyalty to itself. Religions are opposed because they represented loyalty to someone other than the state. And what about intellectuals, who are often more atheistic than the peasant population? They are slain because they oppose the oppression of the state, not because they subscribe to a different (ir-)religious ideology.
So, this author wants to have his cake and eat it too. Conflicts which seem to be about religion are really about politics. And conflicts which seem to be about politics are really about religion... but only when one of the players is an atheist. So, how exactly does that work? Oh, right! It's because real Christians could never do that, and atheists have no morals!
Nothing quite like the lens of prejudice to see the world the way you want it rather than the way it really is.