Liberty Magazine: The Church Versus State DebateSubmitted by Ed Thinking on Fri, 09/27/2013 - 23:04
As an outside observer of U.S. and Canadian media I am often bemused at how often some of my Christian friends across “the pond” allow themselves to be diverted into often vacuous debates over what America’s Founders “intended” when they wrote the separation of church and state into the American Constitution. Not that I suggest the debate, per se, is pointless. It’s just that two other key issues are rarely raised. First, the mandate provided by populations in the U.S. and Canada, where about 80 percent claim some form of Christian belief. Second, the critical intellectual link between culture and religion. According to ARDA (the Association of Religion Data Archives), about 80 percent of the U.S. population identify themselves in some way as Christian, whether or not they lay claim to a specific church affiliation or regular church attendance. The figures for claimed Christian belief are equally impressive in Canada and the United Kingdom. About 75 and 80 percent, respectively, according to ARDA. These statistics alone provide in each country an overwhelming national mandate that gives a privileged position, role, and public status—a mandate that acknowledges the Christian church’s singular influence on American, Canadian, British, or Western culture and its values. Such a heritage demands not only public acknowledgment, but confers a civic right, with appropriate symbolism, to social and cultural recognition.
As the abject failure of multiculturalism in Europe reveals, cut the umbilical cord with culture’s formative religion—its beliefs and teachings—and it quickly loses its moral compass and the roots of its identity. That is precisely why Islamists cause so much friction in Western societies. Islamists recognize only too well how culture and religion are intellectually and politically indivisible. In Germany, France, the U.K., and other countries, Islamists constantly confuse Western liberal social design, persistently confuting liberalism’s multicultural goal by opting for the right of social separation, not integration.