DownsizeDC.org
November 1, 2006
Separating Church and State
By James Wilson
The October 8 New York Times contains a lengthy but interesting report on the relationship between Church and State (registration required). Many states, as well as Congress, often give church-run enterprises like day care centers tax and regulatory breaks that other non-profit and for-profit businesses don’t get. Author Diana B. Henriques suggests that this is patently unfair, and that churches don't deserve special privileges. I agree. She hints, however, that the solution is to force churches to be regulated like everyone else to even the playing field. I disagree; the real problem is that the government is stepping into areas in which it has no place. The supposed problem is, if there's a law that violates the tenets of a particular religion, or that makes it difficult for a religious body to worship or function, we have a violation of the Free Exercise of Religion clause of the First Amendment. But if the law is amended to exempt or accommodate people of faith, then the government is favoring one (or some) religion(s) over others and violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (commonly called the Separation of Church and State). But this is a false dilemma. In truth, you can't have religious freedom without both personal freedom and economic freedom. The State tells you that you have religious freedom, but then the State imposes its own rules on you: what you can eat, what drugs you can take, which doctors you can see, who you can and cannot marry, how you raise your children, where and when you can operate your business. It imposes discrimination laws on you when you might want to give preference to fellow members of your church. It taxes you less for some of your economic and lifestyle decisions, and taxes you more for some others. It teaches your children things you might believe are untrue, supports “art” you might find immoral, and scientific research you may think is unethical. Big Government can't help but violate the Free Exercise Clause, because the obligations it imposes are often incompatible with the individual's conscience. Big Government also can't help but violate the Establishment Clause, because it imposes values contrary to those instilled by religion. In addition, high taxes and competing public institutions (like schools and hospitals) make it harder for religious institutions to function. Big Government has to either incorporate religion, absorb religion, or eliminate religion. It's impossible for Big Government to be neutral towards religion. The Separation of Church and State is only possible with downsized government. That is, if we are to separate Church and State, we'll also have to separate School and State, Parenthood and State, Science and State, Medicine and State, Art and State, Charity and State, and Market and State. Otherwise, the “separation of Church and State” is meaningless rhetoric.
Blog commenting is currently under construction. In the meantime, you can send an email if there's something you'd like to tell us.

What Can We Do For You?

We can help you downsize the federal government, if you want that. All you have to do is join. It's free! In return...

We'll give you an army.

We're recruiting a huge army of supporters to work for what you want.

We'll give you influence.

The Downsize DC Army will exert relentless, resistance-numbing pressure on Congress.

We'll make your voice heard.

We'll use our growing army to make your beliefs heard by everyone, everywhere, every day.

We'll give you winning strategies.

Ideas like our "Read the Bills Act" and the "One Subject at a Time Act" will give you the leverage to win the public debate, control Congress, and Downsize DC!

We'll give you powerful tools.

  • Your free membership includes a subscription to our free email newsletter, the Consent Chronicle, which national talk show host Jerry Hughes calls by far the best newsletter he receives.
  • You'll be able to use our Educate the Powerful SystemSM to pressure Congress. It's easy. All it takes is a few mouse clicks and keyboard strokes. You can do it in your bathrobe while you're drinking your morning coffee, or during a break at work.
  • You'll also gain access to our 16-page strategy document, "The Downsize DC Vision." You'll learn about important insights like "ignoring an axiom," and powerful strategies like "picking off the herd." One reader called this document "the unified field theory" of political change.

To gain these benefits, just enter your email address in the box below and hit Subscribe!

Subscribe to the Consent Chronicle
Enter your email address twice: