Friday, June 28, 2002

Church and State

Two recent decisions by the courts have put the topic of religion in public life in front of the nation.

One was the decision by the US Supreme Court to allow for the public funding of vouchers for use in religious schools. This has been criticized by the left on the usual seperation of church and state grounds.

It has been so long since the intelligensia looked at this question with anything like common sense that it seems radical to return to the basics. The framers of the constitution, however, were not trying to ban all religious activity of any kind by the government when they wrote the first amendment. They were attempting to make sure that no one Christian denomination would be able to gain hegemony and vote itself the official state religion. There was never any question but that the US would remain a Christian nation with all that entailed.

The total banishment of religion from government activities is a much more recent development that stems from the leftist tendencies of jurists of the early '60's rather than anything that the framers of the constitution said. Thus, it is fitting that we are moving in a corrective direction, back toward a more commonsense approach to these issues.

The other issue is the action by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that banned the use of the Pledge of Allegience in schools because it contains the words "under God." This ruling is interesting because it shows the logical result of extending the reasoning behind the ban on prayer in school, which is that no government entity can promote the utterance of any religious words whatsoever. This is consistent with the court's previous reasoning. The reaction of the Congress, the President, and the people is such that it reveals that this line of reasoning was wrong from the beginning, and we are finally going to be forced to deal with that error.