Saturday, September 15, 2007

Quote for the Day- Mark Lilla

"In the West people still think about God, man, and the world today- how could they not? But most seem to have trained themselves not to take that last step into politics. We are no longer in the habit of connecting our political discourse to theological and cosmological questions, and we no longer recognize revelation as politically authoritative. This is testament to our self restraint. That we must rely on self restraint should concern us." -Mark Lilla, The Stillborn God

With some notable exceptions I think this is true even here in this most Christian of Western democracies. But it expresses more eloquently (and for me in embarrassingly fewer words) what I tried to say here. The separation of church and state we have in this country is fragile, and is held in place by an all too amendable constitution. Sometime I wish that religion at this country's founding had been mixed with state. There would have been two possible outcomes: The stultifying effects of theocracy would have been so embarrassing in the face of an advancing Europe that to salvage national pride, which has always been hyper-sensitive to condescension from across the Atlantic, we would have forcibly dispensed with it. The other more likely outcome would be that a church would have been nationalized and become an ossified, corrupt, petty, and bureaucratic arm of the sate thus neutralizing its ability to inspire religious fervor and zealotry. After all no state has an interest in breeding fanatics and as with European national churches all religious fervor that threatened governmental authority would be easily neutralized. This would have been the more likely scenario, and it is what I hope is happening now though less formally. We can only hope that George Bush has become such a symbol of the infusion of religion and politics that the religious groups that have supported him will sink with his presidency. I am possibly being too hopeful. I do often wish though that at the Republic's birth we could have had church and state united and have been judiciously done with it when we saw where it took us. This also the reason why I don't fear a takeover of evangelicals or the fashionable fundamentalists as I think they should be dubbed. The results would be so hysterically and comically disastrous for the country and their movement that they would be forever discredited.

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