Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Liberals are not Immune! (Part I)

In these pages, I have regularly challenged conservatives. But the liberals are not immune -- either from challenge in these pages or from inane conduct worthy of comment.

NPR reported yesterday that a group of liberal secularists calling themselves the "Mainstream Coalition" has begun a "secret mission" of infiltrating churches to try to catch them pushing political messages and political candidates. The group intends to report such incidents to the government and to the media in order to "raise awareness about the separation between church and state."

Let the record be clear: there is nothing in our Constitution which prohibits churches from supporting political candidates and nothing which prohibits them from engaging in the political "marketplace of ideas." The "separation of church and state," a phrase which appears no where in the Constitution, is really just a shorthand way of referring to two different clauses in the First Amendment. These clauses bind only the government, and prohibit it from making laws (1) "respecting the establishment of religion" or (2) "prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The point of these clauses has nothing to do with keeping religion out of politics. Rather, their point is to keep the government out of religion. The government, in other words, must not be allowed to compel people's religious beliefs either by favoring one religion over another (establishment clause) or by preventing people from practicing religion in the way they see fit (free exercise clause). The separation of church and state is, thus, a one-way separation. There is simply no good reason why churches shouldn't engage in politics.

Tomorrow, I will explain why engaging in "Chrisian politics" is not only legally permissible, but required if we are to truly follow Jesus.

1 Comments:

At 5:12 PM, Blogger jj said...

Sorry, Part Duex may have to wait until this weekend. Getting busy!

 

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