Monday, July 14, 2008


Initiating Faith

Here is a pretty good op-ed piece by Reg Henry of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via the Nashua Telegraph) on Barak Obama's suggestion that he will continue Bush's "faith-based initiatives":

What next? Will he promise federal funding to facilitate the rapture? Turn the Erie Canal into a national baptismal font?
Mr. Henry makes the basic point that the wall of separation between church and state was intended to protect religion and has done the job so well that the US is the most religious of the developed nations by far. He correctly notes the wall:

... is the best friend religion in America has ever had. We only have to look at the example of Britain to see what the dead hand of government sponsorship has done to church attendance. Churches in England are often where old people go to feel more lonely.
Putting it humorously doesn't diminish the essential danger involved:

I do not want Episcopalians punching people who dare to use the wrong dinner fork, Presbyterians feeling predestined to punch back, Baptists throwing cold water in all directions, Catholics getting feisty for fear of being left out, and Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians and Druids also joining the fray in the interest of inclusiveness. I do not want the Unitarians, who take a broader view, giving everyone a good sulking.
And I'd add that I wouldn't want atheists skulking in churches hoping to purloin communion wafers.

We see a precursor of such mischief every time a school board, in a fit of religiously inspired creative deception, attempts to introduce creationism into a curriculum under the guise of intelligent design. Fistfights would be breaking out more often if lawsuits were not more fun.
I'd add that, without the recognition by the courts of the wall of separation, there'd be no alternative to fistfights.

On the practical side:

Obama should shore that wall up, not seek to curry favor of those who would knock it down.

He hasn't got a prayer of getting their vote anyway.

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