How do we protect separation of church and state from legislative religious encroachment? What is meant by “legislative religious encroachment”? Try:
Taxpayer funds used to build buildings for sectarian college campuses?
Nondisclosure of political financing by churches, mosques, synagogues, etc?
Voucher payments for taxpayer funds to charter schools?
Disproportionate tax treatment of religious institutions from hoit poli taxation requirements?
This is only a representative example.
Protection of this constitutional right requires first public interest, and second, knowledge of how we reached the opinions that we have on the subject.
It is difficult to ignite a broad-based public interest about government in religion or religion in government because most of our populace is not religious. Most give religion their head – nod by default and prefer not to think about it too much, as they don’t see it as interfering with their daily lives.
So, the Constitutional battle between religion, first amendment protection, and legislative religious encroachment are limited to a core base battle between opposites. Each end is set in an immovable position. The religious right has been taught from childhood that America is a Christian country and the literal word of God is to go unto the world and convert individuals and nations to Christianity by any means possible. Freethinkers either deny the existence of God or the most conservative interpretation of deity, while not wanting to be harassed by conversion attempts or laws supporting conversion.
In logic and psychology there is the “either-or syndrome”. So called because the individual, group or assembly of political party locks their reasoning into an either-or syndrome. From there, it often becomes tribal, meme, and automatic reaction without reasoning. The famous Muller- Lyer illusion is a good example of what occurs in the reasoning of each side. Google Muller – Lyer illusion and take a quick look at it. You see two horizontal lines of different length, with fins appended, pointing in different directions. The bottom line is obviously longer than the one above it. This is what each member of each polarized group sees, and we naturally believe what we have been raised to see or motivates us to see. However, as you can easily confirm by measuring the two lines with a ruler the horizontal lines are in fact, identical length.
From this visual illustration, perhaps gained from a speech, sermon, event, propaganda, fake news etc., as a seed, with support becomes an illusion of thought called “cognitive illusion”, and driven by the “either, or) syndrome.
Before any meaningful discussion of government in religious legislation or religion within government can be had, each side must identify their cognitive illusion or the issue. Only then can debate and reason itself, have a chance. It is amazing how dedicated and committed we become to faulty premises, without ever having self-checked how we came to the conclusion.
Never the less, in our Sunday posts, Twogaa will continue to ask hard questions of how, when, where and why the First Amendment is important and the need for the national debate and discussion of church separation from state and keeping religion out of government must grow.