Monday, January 13, 2003

Sense From Scalia

One of the great myths of American political economy is the 'wall of separation' between church and state. The phrase is actually from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote, not from any founding document. Now certainly, the national government is prohibited from 'establishing' a church, as England had done. The words in our Bill of Rights is a clear statement of break from the practices of England. (It is historical fact that individual states could and did have established churches.)

Do I want the government involved in the church I attend? Most certainly not. Government attention that may begin in a benign way--e.g. 'faith-based initiatives'--really turn out to be Trojan Horses for government restriction and regulation.

But that does not translate into the exclusion of religion from public life, as many on the Left desire. Antonin Scalia, one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices and the greatest of the 21st Century, has weighed in publicly on the issue of God in public life. A model of judicial restraint, Scalia correctly contends that it is not the court's role to legislate from the bench:
"The sign back here which says `Get religion out of government' can be imposed on the whole country," Scalia said. "I have no problem with that philosophy being adopted democratically. If the gentleman holding the sign would persuade all of you of that, then we could eliminate `under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance. That could be democratically done."

Our nation is a country founded with godly principles in mind. Religion is a private matter, as many suggest. That does not mean it's a secret matter, that one should hide out of shame. The government should not establish a church, but that does not mean it should be anti-religious in its approach.

I shy away from calling any nation 'Christian', but God does judge the nations. I fear He would find ours wanting.

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