Faith is undeniably front and center in our national conversation. Every bit of public policy being debated today seems to be framed within the context of whether it is acceptable to people of faith. Is it right to require faith-based institutions that accept taxpayer funds to abide by conditions set by the government? Should public schools be forced to abstain from teaching anything that advocates or leans toward a particular religion? What role should faith have in public policy?
These questions are being debated both within the halls of government and outside in the public square. Within many churches, the idea of separation of church and state is anathema. In fact, the religious right seems to think that any law that moves to restrict the injection of religion into a public forum is, in fact, religious discrimination. It would seem that to them, freedom of religion does not include freedom from religion.
I was raised Christian, and I find that Christianity is the best way that I am able to understand the world. However, many Christians have taken Christ out of the faith. Jesus did not demand that he be heard. In fact, he said, “Blessed are the meek.” He did not go apoplectic over a Mosque being built in a nearby town, and he most certainly did not demand that anyone receive a “religious exemption,” allowing them to discriminate.
The rule of law is meant to save us from the dangers of religious discrimination. It is not meant to codify such discrimination. Government must be completely secular, and religion should not control public policy. In fact, what really separates us from a theocracy like Iran if we allow religion to be in the law? Sadly, I’m afraid this current political and religious climate won’t change anytime soon, and that does not bode well for our future.