Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Separation Of Church And State

FLG is in favor of the separation of church and state, and double-super-in-favor of the establishment clause. The thing that bugs FLG, however, is people who are in favor of the strict separation of church and state, and simultaneously in favor of expanding government. The result is a constriction of the freedom of religion.

A couple of examples:
If you want to expand government health care funding and use separation of church and state to mandate that pharmacists must provide birth control, even if it's against a pharmacist's religious beliefs.

Asking public school teacher not to wear a crucifix or Star of David.

There are countless others.

For FLG, he's largely concerned with people preaching during their role as a public employee. So, a public school teacher should keep their personal religious beliefs out of their teaching time. Their lunch break and after-school sessions are somewhat a gray area for FLG. He is slightly uncomfortable with public school teachers preaching to students even in off-hours largely because the relationship between the parties only exists because of the state and moreover the relationship is one of superior to subordinate. But, on the other hand, a teacher wearing a symbol of their religious beliefs doesn't really concern FLG, as long as it doesn't distract too much from the teaching. For example, a large, diamond encrusted crucifix might be problematic.

FLG is also not terribly sympathetic to the idea that no religious displays can be on public property. In New England, for example, every village green has a church adjacent to it. Often there are multiple. In FLG's hometown, all the churches had a joint Palm Sunday worship on the green when the weather permitted. They setup various crosses and whathaveyou. It brings the community, or at least the minimally observant Christians, together for a hour or so. No harm done, and in fact congruent with the history of the country and particularly the region.

Then again when judges put the ten commandments in courthouses it bugs the shit out of FLG. FLG guess his point, even though it probably doesn't seem like it given this rambling post, is that he doesn't really like the zealots on either side. The people who want no or minimal separation and those who want complete separation. There's a common sense understanding upon which FLG thinks a majority of the faithful and secular can agree, and in point of fact have largely agreed. But of the two extremes the strict separation people bother him more. This is probably because of FLG's political and ideological biases, but it's something about the combination of how they want strict separation, but also want to expand the government's role in our lives. Thus, the space for the expression of personal religious belief is constricted. Yet, each of the two pieces is justified on its own in a way that contradicts each other when combined.


Withywindle said...

"Common sense" is, of course, what is wearing thin in the country. For which read various rants, among them against multiculturalism and high immigration, but also to note that governments run by a sort of reason that cannot allow for common sense, and that if you want more common sense, you need less government. Which insight is itself common sense.

Anonymous said...

I heard a funny story and it's true. It just happened about 2 months ago at Scott Air Force Base.

Alright as it is with all government blgs. the chain of command is on display in nice big framed portraits from the president on down on the walls when you walk in the blgs. most of the deks of the regulare folk at SAFB are "hot" meaning they are used 24/7. There are shifts of people that use them. They are not your own office space -your share and you share with people who are different than you.

One woman of African American decent decided to decorate her space -which is not her space but the space of about 5 other people- with framed 8X10 photos of O. Well as O has exposed himself to be a complete nincompoop, especially in the miltirary arena, the other 5 folk who share this sapec got sick and tired of staring at him while they tried to clean up all his messes. So one day the African American woman walked into "her spece" to discover "Miss Me yet" xeroxes taped all over the cubicle.

Her reaction was simple.

She filed a formal complaint with like the EEOC or whover you would file a formal complaint as a government worker - this woman is not military but has a civilian job - all the other folks sharing the desk are military.

It took 1 General and 2 Lt. Colonels and several days to deal with there staff acting like children and then this woman's formal complaint because they had to even if they are trying to move troops around to fight 2 wars... Even after all this, the woman still couldn't understand it wasn't polite to personalize a "hot seat" with her own political views.

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Wow....I really can't type. Especially when I'm laughing.

Mrs. P

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