Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Separation of Church and State?

The role of the state vs. the role of religion and spirituality in public life is at once one of the most hotly contested issues in our culture and one that suffers from the largest set of misguided assumptions. The phrase, “separation of church and state,” is a bumper-sticker polemic whipped out at the first sign of religion and moral thinking intended to put a stop to all meaningful interaction – what a professor of mine used to call a “thought stopper.”

But this stunted shape of the public discourse has left us in a position where we are overly sensitive to and under-prepared to think about the role of religion (and, gasp, organized religion) in the public square.

A wonderfully clear thinker, Thomas Sowell, deals with a handful of the political misgivings of the “separation of church and state” in this article, but it is left to us to continue to deal with the very real and necessary role of religion in our culture.

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