Turkey advertises itself both as “secular,” thanks to its constitution of 1923, and as “98 percent Muslim.” India is called “secular,” thanks to its constitution of 1947, and is often seen as having the highest level of religious participation of any major nation. The United States has had a “secular” Constitution since 1787 and has a population ranked first in religious participation among the industrialized nations. All three countries assure religious freedom. This suggests there are links between a secular polity and a religious people, connections that are being strained in our time.
In 30 years there will be as many people over 80 as under five, but there likely won’t be enough medical personnel to care for them. Medical students aren’t choosing geriatric care because the work is too hard and the pay too low. Some medical students shy away from geriatrics because they don’t like to face death, says one med school professor. “They’d rather take an anatomy exam for the eighth time than face a dying person,” he said (Vox, October 30).