Religion is on the defensive again, and its defenders are mobilized against a perceived threat in the Deep South.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore stuck true to his faith and ignored the law by refusing to remove a monument dedicated to the Ten Commandments from state grounds. Defying a federal court order, Moore was suspended from his bench and faces further inquiries.
Needless to say, Moore is now the hero of the day for the Fox News crowd. At courthouse rallies, Moore is given rock star treatment for his stubborn stance.
Ayesha Khan, an attorney for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told CNN Moore is determined to “proclaim the sovereignty of the Christian God.”
Some have compared him to Martin Luther King Jr., in this respect. To use the term very loosely, many are hailing Moore as a martyr of Christiandom.
Justice Moore unquestionably is a firm believer in his faith, but his conviction toward the Constitution is questionable, as any judge worthy of a robe should not be confused by the two standing legal traditions established in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
This is where the debate on religion hinges today in America.
There is growing sentiment across the United States for religion to play a greater part in our daily lives. Most cite the large role religion played in education until the latter 20th century.
A return to the “good ole days” of God-fearing, disciplined young urchins will turn around our failing schools, invigorate the work force and stimulate society — or so they say.
The only thing standing in the way is that pesky little Constitution, which guarantees free exercise of religion while barring the government from promoting an establishment of religion.
It allows citizens to practice their faiths without interference. It allows the people to be free from a state-sanctioned theology, whether it comes in the form of teacher-led prayer in school or a single state church.
Say what you will about the Christian teachings underpinning our society and values. No declaration of faith is necessary to enjoy American citizenship, except the Pledge of Allegiance, also supposedly under attack by activist liberal judges.
The amount of religion people want is being determined these days. Private prayer among individuals at public events — especially high school graduations – is perfectly fine, but telling someone it is forbidden to use the PA system to broadcast the prayer raises the ire of untold hordes of Christian groups.
Religious acceptance is no longer the focal point in this issue. For most mainstream Americans, harboring the hateful grip of religious intolerance is a thing of the past.
While White America obviously has not come to fully understanding other religions (Islam in particular), progress is being made that can be seen on local levels.
The desire to publicly proclaim the word of God is a tempting one for many Christians who wish to spread their faith.
There is no war being fought against Christianity today in America.
Faith and the church are very much alive and well in the United States, but monuments like that in Alabama or institutions like school prayer are unnecessary and best left to be constructed by private interests.
Kansas State Collegian, Kansas State University