The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The REAL War on Christmas

As the holiday season approaches I am remembering the debate last year about “the war on Christmas.” There were protests denouncing local stores and citizens who chose to show respect to people of other religions by using the phrase “Happy Holidays.”

So this year I have some advise: If you believe so strongly that your religion is the correct one (as people of all religions tend to do) you can best serve and promote it by fighting for the principles that your religion promotes.

I believe that some of the greatest enemies of Christianity call themselves Christians. Christianity isn’t a slogan and it doesn’t need official promotion or the use of coercion to prosper. The real war on Christmas comes from those who ignore the values of Jesus in order to promote the veneer of nominal Christianity.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Unidirectional Separation is no Separation at All

Local conservatives are repeating more myths about church and state separation. This one is old but still as silly as when I first heard it. "Thomas Jefferson['s letter] dated January 1, 1802... was actually stating that government needs to stay out of the church, not that the church stay out of the government" (anonymous online forum poster "TheDisciple").

What will a church do with a governmental key that will not also lead to an entanglement that impacts the religious practices of others? Notice Madison and Jefferson never mentioned that "the wall" was a half wall half gate depending on the direction of the entanglement.