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July 03, 2014

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While much outrage is over the misinformation that it was about enabling women in fulfilling their "right" to reproductive freedom, I have no doubt that some want to stick it to Christians out of a perception of Christian morality that has been conflated with real or imagined experiences with practices of moralism that were particularly prevalent a generation ago. What most people who do this don't realize is that they have become what they despise because they have adopted their own brand of twisted moralism and are actively trying to force people to conform through legislation, litigation, education, and propaganda. In the words of their hippie forbears, they vie to become the institution so they can punish the old institution the way they believe old institution punished them.

>> The public square should remain secular. To me, that is an expression of the separation of church and state...

>> It seems he’s redefined “state” to mean not the government, but public life. Also very troubling.

I agree, such concepts are troubling, especially as we see a drift in the direction of this "extreme statism." But how to explain our hesitancy? Best offer the exact opposite, the theocratic state.

In the idea of a theocracy, the core ideal is admirable, a state under the benign control of the Supreme Deity. But there is the annoying element of whose version or vision of a theocracy is viable. Winthrop's? William's? Penn's? The sad thing is this idea is developed under some human scheme so direct rule by God is fantastic at best.

Extreme statism suffers from the same flaws. The state with greater control may offer more services, but the greater the populace, the more external controls are needed to implement and maintain. Thus to grant a greater security, gun laws are passed -- with no 100% assurance that they will preserve lives absolutely. Mandatory public education expends costs and resources to an extreme, with no guarantees of success beyond mediocrity. No government is 100% effective, even with ideal conditions.

It is better to view the separation of church and state as two equal players in impacting the societies which constitute the nation. Church seeks not to influence state (other than those politicians who are motivated by Gospel ideals), and state seeks not to influence church (other than those politicians who attend worship services). Those who would wish to exclude politicians of such a background do a disservice to a nation of depriving those whose sense of public service is motivated by divine love.

Such a position of extreme statism would need to censor thoughts not in line with official state position. This would be an outrageous affront to the citizenry who have been granted the constitutional right of free speech and peaceful assembly.

The state as an equivalent to public life? I don't think I would need the state to attend a movie, fuel my car, or throw a Frisbee in the park. But if it suddenly does ... horrors!

I think the objection to the Hobby Lobby case is less about the right to conscience than it is about what people should have a right to be conscientious of. Many fear a slippery slope, but there has been a slippery slope of moral latitude we've been descending for decades.

For some, that is by design; they call it "progress" and "freedom" and "rights." Others differ in some of these matters and are villainized for those opposing beliefs by the same people who once appealed to personal choice, tolerance, diversity, or moral relativism in support of their own differing views. What once was a matter of personal liberty has now become of matter of public obligation, not only to affirm the new beliefs and behaviors as morally acceptable but in some cases to facilitate and fund them as well.

This recent SCOTUS ruling suggests some obstacle to, or refuge from, the progressive program of terraforming the moral landscape. For this reason it is hated even more than it is feared for the alleged rights that some may be denied. I realize that there are some who do not share the vision of the full progressive program, but they are often unwittingly in the same boat and share the same view of the passing shore.

The constitution does not use the phrase "separation of church and state." What it does say is that the government cannot make a state religion, meaning it can't declare that all of the USA is catholic, or Lutheran, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or any other religion/denomination. That is in the constitution because England as well as other European countries have had/do have state religion/churches. It is to protect the church and keep the government out of church.

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