Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Separation of Church and Politics

Goeoge Bush, in the most radical change in American Foreign Policy in 200+ years has embarked on the world transforming policy of separating church and politics. This is quite surprising for a man so deeply involved in the politics of the religious right in America. America's stated policy is democracy, but not just any kind of democracy. It will be a democracy where the will of the people is supreme. The will of a few will not have ultimate sway. We see this in America. The government is secular and bad policy is not the writ of god. Dread Scott is no longer the law of the land.

In a way George has sown the seeds of the long term destruction of his own political base. The long term key for Bush will be to figure out how to keep the nation's Christian/Jewish character while at the same time reducing the religious character of America's laws. How do we make a religion neutral body of law and practice in American politics.

In a way Iraq is a great laboratory for the experiment of disentangling religion from politics. Afghanistan is another lab. The next lab will probably be Iran. Notice all these focus on Islamic politics? Hmmmm. In a way this is good because the religious right in America does not see the danger to itself this policy represents. They are too busy tring to rebuild the Temple and thus getting the messiah to come back. For that to happen they have to weaken Islam's power. For that to happen they have to move to separate church and state as official American Foreign Policy. Ooops.

In any case, out of our successes and failures in that area we will find out what the limits are relative to speed of disentanglement. Israel is already some help in the matter. It is a Jewish state. But it also has a lot of European and American church/state separation experience. So some of the issues we already have experience with.

Steven den Beste can give you the long version if he has an interest. (Hi Steve) :-)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"It will be a democracy where the will of the people is supreme. The will of a few will not have ultimate sway. We see this in America. The government is secular and bad policy is not the writ of god. Dred Scott is no longer the law of the land."

Seems to me like Dred Scott (and the whole slavery/Jim Crow apparatus) is a poor example here. It was only by an appeal to the "writ of God", as you put it, that Dred Scott could be declared an affront against morality. Without the efforts of Christians to articulate Christian morality in the public sphere, this would never have happened.

Anonymous said...

".. to figure out how to keep the nation's Christian/Jewish character while at the same time reducing the religious character of America's laws".

If Eric Maybury is right, the method for achieving this result might be to revitalize the idea that all legislation must conform to two basic laws,

1) Do all you have agreed to do.
2) Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

These laws align with the heart of Judeo-Christian secular morality, and serve as a tool for identifying any incompatible laws based solely on "religious character", such as blue laws (Local ordinances prohibiting commercial activity on Sunday, such as those that San Antonio, TX tried and failed to enforce in the 1980s).

Daniel
San Antonio, TX

M. Simon said...

True Dread Scott was changed by a change in Christian morality.

Which was my point.

Christians were on both sides of the issue since the beginning of the country until 1865. Or maybe 1967 or so.

Christian morality changes with the times.

Surprise.

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