Sara Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Rebecca Kleefisch, etc. and Seperation of Church and State

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"...unite all things in Heaven and on earth..."

Aren't we simply seeing the successful development of the "visions" and utopian dreams of the many groups that believe in a Utopia where everyone lives in peace together......Trekkies; Christians believing the words from Ephesians; readers of Andrew Carnegie's Triumphant Democracy 2nd edition in the Epilogue wherein he stated his desire to unite England, Canada, Autralia, and our USA into an empire that could "sweep the seas" of all enemies; and Lodge & Valley men; veterans of wars disgusted by the human waste; and all of these and more working to make it happen?

Am I the only person who noticed that in 1999 the Lutherans abandoned their separate declaration to merge with the Anglican church and they accepted a lesser role in the political church in the process making them have a lower profile in the lineage of the Apostles?

Am I the only person who noticed that in 1999 the American Freemason fraternity merged with the American Templars?

Am I the only person aware that these movements are Euro-Cons who believe in the European conservativism which embraces centralized authority in which Church and State are NOT separate, even if there are political houses, ruled by the same central figure, keeping the appearance of church and state separate?

The un-doing of Enlightenment and the Reformation is a powerful motivation to powerful they completely ignore the political our peril.

tinton's picture
Oct. 19, 2010 10:29 am

tinton, the problem is that we have moved on from "the Enlightenment" and "The Age of Reason" to a more sophisticated and scientific understanding of the complexity of our minds and way of knowing. I expand the Cartesian formula to "I process information, therefor I am." The point is that "reason" is only part of the process, and while irrationality is not what is embraced, the process by which we process information is clearly more than rational thought and analysis.

Our thinking occurs in the frame of our narrative(s). Issues mean very different things in different narratives. But interpretation is based on prior experience and cultural lenses, and what is accepted tends to be with what fits the ongoing story rather than what challenges it. How, why and when we are able to entertain information which calls into question what we know is more than being "objective" and certainly not about being uninvolved.

Similarly, it is not the undoing of the Reformation we are experiencing. That theology was left behind as "free will" religion triumphed in the middle of the 19th Century. The crisis and change that will be happening in American religion is part of our sociological condition. Maintaining European sectarian identities is no longer the need it was when America had an unofficial WASP brand. That brand is over, and it is why the Tea Party reaction was there for the Kochs to fund.

Religion in America is a very complicated mess. The idea of separation and disestablishment has worked. It is religious nationalism that has failed to achieve social harmony. The theocrats on the Right want to impose their religion on the consciences of other Americans. The Left rejects that even for its own core beliefs. We have rules for civil participation and conduct in a civil democracy. We need fair elections and universal civil rights. But these are about how people of diversity live and work together, and govern ourselves with liberty and justice for all.

The resentment on the Right about public schools began with a culture war against the teaching of citizenship values in school. It is true that the Protestant Mainline believed in a civil society of religious freedom. They did begin hospitals and schools with goal of transferring them to public support as the community became established. They were not building Protestant catechism academies about religion: but they were socializing and unifying the civil life by educating all the children of the community.

Class resentments and I will acknowledge a basic contempt for "emotional" religion or Fundamentalist anti-intellectualism by the upper classes fueled a feeling of payback. The poor working class Southern religious culture saw schools as "liberals" taking their children from their religion and culture to an Americanism they felt as established religion.

The Scopes "Monkey Trial" distorted the real issues into a parody of simple biblical "faith." For the poor miners and farmers, evolution was about Social Darwinism and a world where their children were screwed. They preferred to teach their children about the love of God for them instead of being on the losing side of the survival of the fittest. Were we able to get the Right to settle for having American religion examined or even shared for learning, we could talk about dogmas without having to pretend that science is involved. Same with historicity.

The errors of the Right do not prove the truth of the Left. Their toxic narrative of a sectarian "Christian" America against a fallen world becomes religious war against the rest of us. But the Left is also grieving for its lost American Century story. We have not abandoned the memes of Manifest Destiny or come to terms with our real history.

Liberals need to work on the reality of which secular(ism) reduces the whole by eliminating the sacred. We need to appreciate how and why religion has its place in human societies. I do plenty of criticizing of bad religion, and those who aim at religion in general throw out many babes with the bathwater. We need to embrace what we have learned in a post-Enlightenment world. It is not the rejection of the Enlightenment which birthed the knowledge that transcended its presumptions. It is how we honor those who have led us to our new challenges.

DRC's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The America I Knew Has Almost Disappeared

Like an alcoholic family that won't discuss alcoholism (and proving Don Quixote's warning to never mention rope in the home of a man who's been hanged), far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.

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