…religious tolerance in this country.
I found this meme on Facebook:
And lots of people are quick to express very strong agreement with this.
One person said, “They should use something other than a bible. After all, we are a nation of multiple religions.”
To which, I responded: “OK so the President’s freedom of religion goes out the window when he/she is elected? First Amendment rights apply except to the President? What if the President being sworn in wants to use a Bible because it is meaningful to him/her? Would any of you say that a Jewish President should not be sworn in on a copy of the Torah? What if we had a Hindu President – could that person not be sworn in on a copy of the Rig Veda? It seems that a lot of people here have this idea that tolerance applies to everyone *except* Christians. Newsflash: Christians have rights in this country too.”
Another person got all kinds of upset and yelled, “Religion has no place in our political system…NONE! ZIP, NADA…”
To which, I responded: “No place, eh? Tell that to Jimmy Carter, former President and Sunday school teacher. Tell that to John Clagget Danforth, a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, former Attorney General of Missouri, former United States Senator from Missouri and an ordained Episcopal priest.”
I also added this: “You people would actually take rights away from Americans based on their religion. That is un-American. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
The only way you could keep all religious views out of the public sphere, and do so fairly, would be to ALSO keep all SECULARIST views out of the public sphere. Rev. Timothy Keller made this point in his book “The Reason for God.” I really wish people would read that book and understand what’s written in it. More on this another time.
Someone added this, which is actually very accurate: “The idea of separating the church from state was not to keep the church from running the state but the state from trying to run the church.” This is correct; we did not want the equivalent of the Archbishop of New York sitting in the Senate, doing whatever he wanted because he wasn’t subject to anyone or anything except the church hierarchy. Our English forefathers had already seen the problems that came out of that kind of situation. They had learned that lesson BIG TIME.
Oh, but no one wants to hear about HISTORY, that most boring of topics that has NOTHING TO DO with anything going on HERE and NOW.