Sunday, March 10, 2013

The crumbling wall between church and state


My tax dollars should not pay to fix this.
(Photo Credit: AFP.)

An article in the Economist highlights the current debate over a bill passed by the House of Representatives to rebuild houses of worship damaged during Hurricane Sandy last year.

This is a bad idea.

Public money should not be used to support religious institutions. We should not use federal funds to repair churches, synagogues, mosques, or any other religious buildings. Retaining this policy does not discriminate against religion. To the contrary, as the ACLU argues, "This principle is not discriminatory or hostile to religion. Rather, as James Madison forcefully argued centuries ago ... it is one of the most fundamental ways we have to protect and defend religious liberty for all.  It protects the conscience of each of us, ensuring that no taxpayer is required to fund a religious institution he or she may not believe in."

That the bill has gotten even this far suggests that there is a serious problem in Congress. Our lawmakers have apparently lost touch with the Constitutional principle of separation between church and state.