Friday, October 15

Separation of Church and State

To start, Mark Roberts notes a surprising thing. He finds that a consistent liberal who set aside his "I hate Bush at all costs" blinders and to condemn (albeit wrongly) an action made by Kerry. Go figure.

Anyhow, in the political frenzy leading to the last few weeks of the election, several times the question of political activism on the part of churches and religious organization has arisen. The point being made that under some concept of "church/state separation", it is improper or possibly illegal for churches to make too strong a political statement. I find this reprehensible for a number of reasons (note however I am not a legal scholar):
  • The establishment of the "separation of church and state" in the constitution (Bill of Rights) prohibits Congress from establishing a state religion or prohibiting free worship. It is a restriction of government. Not the reverse. It does not restrict the behavior of the churches. Preventing a church from endorsing a candidate is the reverse. It is a restriction of the freedom of the church.
  • The "wall of separation" between church and state, was not a legal concept but (If I recall correctly) an idea put forth by Mr Jefferson who wanted to strictly limit the powers of pretty much any organization (church or state).
  • Outside of constitutional issues, but perhaps in support of the above Bill of Rights, we have chosen not to tax churches. If a church makes a political stand, somehow that makes it a political arm, ignoring the fact that it is not primarily a political entity. Somehow out there, the PC/Liberal factions in the world have decided if a church takes any direct political stand, it is not a church any longer. Hogwash. Worship is what makes a church a church. One would think that would be obvious.
This has stifled a number of parish/church voices from speaking out in the election season for fear of being taxed. I find this cowardly. I think the attack on the "tax-free" status of the church either should be defended against attacks which cannot be sustained. And if they lose, then go ahead and pay the bloody taxes if that is what it takes. The price of silence is too high.