Last updated 6/18/09

Friday, March 27, 2009

The real meaning of separation of Church and State

Over at the Catholic Thing, Austin Ruse writes about a move by the Obama administration to put pressure on Bishop Burke in the hopes of shutting him up about Kathleen Sebelius, the rabidly pro-abortion 'Catholic' governor of Kansas who has been nominated to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Ruse provides a good analysis of the situation, especially in pointing out that 

"More than anything else, the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution was intended precisely to protect religious bodies from meddling by the state, even covert meddling by the White House like this. Obama and his pet Catholics should back off – and fast."

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right  of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The whole "separation of Church and State" provision, which has become a mantra for the progressive movement, does not exist in and of itself - it is based upon a popular interpretation of this amendment. As you can see, it is nowhere stated that religion cannot be involved in public life or in government. What this amendment intended was that there should be no established state religion, nor would anyone be denied the freedom to practice his or her own faith. In other words, the government shall not interfere with religion; not vice versa. I think the paranoia afflicting the secularists and "religion should be practiced behind closed doors" crowd is needless. If religion did infiltrate the government, it would do so only in its moral tendencies, as a state religion can never be established. Plus we're living in a democratic republic. If those religious views were not upheld by popular opinion, they would be ousted. Ah, but I'm forgetting - boo morals, right?