June 5, 2008

The Maginot Line of Separation

Set up by the French to keep the Nazis at bay in WWII, the Maginot line failed to live up to its intended purpose. Composed of concrete, tanks, and other artillery, the fortification was not enough to protect France from invasion.

Similarly, the so-called Wall of Separation, intended to keep the church-state divide intact, has been breached--by it's own architects. The wall, having been fortified by (the myth of) secular neutrality, is where certain truths are deemed "private values" and religious voices are excluded as they represent inescapable bias. The problem with this "line" of thinking has been the lack of recognition of the value-laden reality of secularism, because it is not possible for anyone to function without a worldview. Secularism is neither deaf or blind to what it deems to be religious.

Case in point--Barak Obama. His campaign ads and attempts to court undecided evangelicals brings new meaning to the separation of church and state. Now, it seems that religious voices are welcomed with open arms--as long as these voices are dominated by left-leaning values. Perhaps this isn't new at all, but we've taken further steps as a nation to ensure that it is acceptable to silence those whose values focus on human dignity. Obama's focus on faith in his speeches as well as his pastor problems has caused him to stand out as one of the most overtly religious presidential candidates. Given the political nature of his church experience, it's clear that he holds to a pick-and-choose mentality on the separation of church and state. His inconsistencies speak to the breech of the wall of separation. In the short term, this is a serious problem for the well being of our country as it exposes Americans to a set of values that create dependence on government and fail to hold individuals responsible. But in the long run, does this breech hold open the door to more acceptance of religious voices in the public square?
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