.....(E)verything depends on just how religious activity is defined. If you assume......a Lockean definition (religious belief is essentially private), separation means hands off in both directions. But if you assume.... a definition that demands corrective action when you see the world departing from godly principles, separation means hands off the church by the state and hands on the state by the church.I think this is true; this is why conservatives opposed to gays or women are so aggressive in the public sphere. They really do NOT understand or support the idea of toleration, or live or let live. It's their way or the highway, and that is why people like me, hated by so many religious types, view religion with fundamental suspicion. (IT is an outspoken, lesbian, liberal, atheist scientist. Conservative religious type hate almost everything about me.) These people really do not think we should have equal rights. Oh, they'll wring their hands and cry crocodile tears while talking about "bearing the cross" and "sacrifice" and "hating the sin", but all I hear is hatred and hypocrisy. And that's why I think the Johnson amendment must stand,and Prop8 must be defeated, and we must maintain the very bright line between church and state. Otherwise, the theocracy will put me in jail. Rather like Nigeria.
And that means that there is no way for [the two sides] really to speak to one another because each begins with a different conception of the proper scope of religion. No court or legislature could adjudicate that difference, for if there is one thing everyone agrees on, it is that the state cannot specify what religion is or is not, cannot tell its citizens what should be the content of their faith. The First Amendment, invoked by both sides, cannot settle the question if there is total disagreement about what the question is.......
The bottom line is that there is no rational or principled or constitutional resolution to this conflict. The resolution, if there is one, will have to be political. Either the Johnson amendment will be repealed or it won’t be. And when one or the other happens, the boundaries between church and state, at least with respect to this issue, will have been settled — for a while.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
More on Church vs. State
Stanley Fish in the NY Times contemplates the deliberate efforts to challenge rule that tax exemption of churches depends on them not endorsing individual candidates.
Labels: Church and State