This post is written by Adam von Friedeck, Secretary of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus and the Sôgmô’s Liaison for Religious Minorities and Religious Diversity Interests.
The State of Sandus possesses a multitude of beautiful cultural traditions, as evident in our holidays, ceremonies, and artistic expression. As a member of the Collegio Sacerdae and religious adviser to the Sôgmô, I have the privilege of experiencing these traditions up close.
In my work with the Office of the Sôgmô regarding such affairs, I act officially as the Liaison for Religious Minorities and Religious Diversity Interests. Curiously, however, the groups which require increased representation in our shared national culture are not altogether in the minority; indeed, the most underrepresented category of faiths in Sandus constitutes a strong majority of citizens.
One of the three elements of the Sandum Philosophy is Buddhism, the religion of just over one-fifth of all citizens. I do not oppose Buddhist philosophy having such a status, however, and to my knowledge, neither does any other Sandum citizen. One of the things that unites our people is a devotion to the simple principles that suffering is a part of existence and that we ought to help rid mankind of it to the extent possible. We all believe in striving to think and act in a way that helps relieve suffering. Furthermore, Buddhist philosophy is of great historical importance to Sandus, having influenced the state from its origins, as well as informing the implementation of socialist principles.
Another element of the Sandum Philosophy, however, is Sancta, described by the state website as “any cultural or social ideology that is independent of Socialism and Buddhism yet is still a member of the Sandum Philosophy.” Sancta is essentially the element of our philosophy that stresses the independence of Sandus, encouraging a society which has “[no] single set influence,” as described by the Sôgmô, or, in a word, pluralism.
As Sandum society is not to rely too heavily on any given influence in order to preserve the Sancta ideal, greater representation must be given to the Christians of Sandus and their views of the national philosophy, especially considering the growing importance of democratic principles in the State’s government. Christians constitute wholly two-thirds of all Sandum citizens, with Episcopal Christians alone forming one-third of the citizenry. The proportion of Mormons in Sandus is comparable to that of Roman Catholics in the United States, while a further 11% of the populace ascribes to mystical Christian practice. Thus far, Classical paganism, with its single adherent, has a greater influence on Sandum society than do the beliefs and philosophies of this large number of Christians. Indeed, Christianity has had no influence on our holidays or philosophy as officially described by the State.
In his November essay on Sancta, the Sôgmô supported sentiments such as these, expressing the need for the Collegio Sacerdae to observe major Christian and Buddhist holidays, as well as to “extend cultural holidays to less-privileged citizens.” Yesterday, in the new session of the national Council, he called for the consideration of cultural projects “to augment Sandus’s cultural definition of Sancta,” which will surely include such steps toward the institutional representation of the Sandum people’s diverse religious backgrounds.
By the end of the week, I will have prepared a survey to determine which holidays the Sandum people would like to see added to the official list so that they may finally see aspects of their personal beliefs enshrined in our collective culture. From this survey, I will make recommendations to the Council on what changes should be made in this area. One of the positive features of the Sandum Philosophy is that it provides for a fluid culture, and I hope that other citizens of Sandus will join me in helping make that cultural more in line with the principle of Sancta.