Sometimes I think the local boys at the local newspaper get it right. This was an editorial in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern last Friday.
Given much of the reaction to federal Judge Barbara Crabb's ruling that the National
In her ruling last week on a lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Crabb underscored the very personal connection people have with faith and prayer.
But she also pointed out that it's because of that personal nature of belief that Americans have debated the relationship of religion, government and secular society since the Constitutional Convention with no clear delineation of just how church and state should be separated.
In this case, the debate is over what appears a relatively benign once-a-year assertion of faith in God and recognition of religion's role in shaping this country.
Observances of a national day of
But that position ignores Crabb's point — that a National Day of Prayer, regardless of whether it reflects the beliefs of the majority, creates "in" groups and "out" groups."
While there's no mandate to participate, there is a quiet, uncomfortable "don't ask, don't
The fundamental problem is the intersection of politics and faith that led to creation of the National Day of Prayer 58 years ago, when Congress passed a law affirming the nation's faith in God as if it were universal, creating a national observance that has a toe on the line of separation of church and state, even if it may not have fully crossed it.
While the narrowest definition of the
The National Day of Prayer, created amidst the Cold War and the threat of godless Communism and championed by evangelical
In the grand scheme of things, regardless of which side ultimately prevails in court, this episode is likely to be remembered as a minor skirmish in the culture wars — another place where we can stake out righteous territory and lambaste the opposition.
But after the dust settles, if there's one truth that can be pulled out of the debate, it should be this — Congress ought to steer clear of all matters relating to religion.
Now I would just like to see a little separation between State and the NRA