There appears to be a problem understanding what the separation of church and state is, nicely wrapped up by the Constitution. The fact that only the words religion and church are mentioned - not temple, mosque, synagogue, dharma, ashram, tent - illustrates that those white guys who arrived here and wrote the rules may not have thought beyond Protestant, which protests the Papacy. But what did the separation of church and state really mean to the Founding Fathers and what does it mean today? (You US Constitution scholars feel free to correct me - I’m not humble, only practical.)
Separation is now in the forefront and much ado about it there is. In the Republican primary there is a martinet of a Roman Catholic, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (which is now baptizing dead people via a proxy) a new Roman Catholic who appears to believe he actually knows what his new faith is about, and a Libertarian who practices anti-religion. He has been accused of fakery because he is also a pro-lifer. What’s fake about that? He speaks for himself - Libertarians do that a lot. Libertarians tend not to interfere with others. We don’t have to agree with them or him, but why label him a fake?
Those persons born in England are Church of England. Those persons born in Italy are Roman Catholic, and so on - that’s what state religion means. However, in England one may choose another expression of Christianity or another religion altogether. It wasn’t until 1947 that Italy made it kosher for its citizens to choose to worship without doing so in a Roman Catholic church. In America, and more recently, religious ideas have become more and more controversial. 9/11 didn’t help.
Putting aside the date stamp on the Baby Jesus - spring the more probable time - the problem with fundamentalist religions is that they leave little room for Truth. Truth often remains elusive when God is the subject. Humility is preferable to demands about this or that. When it comes to belief systems, watch out!
For the secular, perhaps pagans, Saturnalia is on today’s calendars from December 17 to 25. (See the connection to the Birth of Jesus.) Do pagans insist upon holding their celebrations along with placing icons in the town square? They wouldn’t dream of doing that. Yet Christians object to celebrations of Judaism when if it weren’t for Judaism, there would be no Christianity. I know this is hard, but to fight over who gets to have first choice is not only silly, it’s destructive. Can’t We the People get along?
Of course not. Why start now?
Yet those who claim Christianity have made Holy Days into secular events. Who ever thought of an Easter Parade? The Resurrected Christ might not have loved it, but He’d love the people showing off their brand new worldly goods. Yeah! He’s like that.
Would it be possible to agree to have celebrations of our beliefs presented on the grounds of the buildings - even a front step - of the places where we worship? Easter and Passover will be here in just over a month. Why not learn something about expressions that serve to acknowledge God? It would be an act of love. Non-believers are welcome.
How about atheists and agnostics? I appreciate both ideas. The atheists I know are swell people, not only aware of the needs of others - and the environment - but are generous and loving - you know, like Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus - you get the idea. I wondered whatever happened to the Sullivanians. As for agnostics, most of us are agnostic about many things that often begin with “Why?” If we do not know and want help, we ask questions, of persons, of books and of the internet. (Have you donated lately?)
Right now, I’ve never heard such clap-trap pouring from political candidates and their keepers. Being fiscally conservative and culturally liberal, I believe that I recognize the mishandling, the misuse of funds. Giving help to even the least of these our brethren has us screaming about corruption - and we are correct. Yesterday, a friend who works in social services shared, once again, the scams pulled by those less fortunate. Sure, we know that. Any ideas how to stop the criminals? Where have all the flowers gone?
Religious institutions were once entirely responsible for aiding the sick, the lame and the halt. There are those who still do, but there’s never enough . . . never enough.
No President can fix it or us. To rave about health care in France is one thing; to believe we can have such excellence in the US is ridiculous.
I have a plan: Let us all take a vow never to be sick or poor.