Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

How we can be & have been harmed by erosion of separation of government & religion

Tonight at 8 p.m. on “Mouthwash,” a FB podcast: “Separation of Church and state.” Micah Beckwith and I shall debate. There are reasons religion and government have been kept separate in this country. The Reformation was on the Framers’ minds in 1787. Let’s address today.

If religion is to be a part of our government, since a majority of adults (Pew Research, January, 2021) profess to be Christians, one may infer that god would be in charge. (Mr Beckwith, et al, would insist.) Problems we already have seen will be exacerbated. Let’s talk “family.”

Gay couples have had to fight to the Supreme Court to get married. That’s following centuries of prejudice under which non-hetero people have suffered. With the current composition of the Supreme Court, those gains might soon be lost. Another scary part?

Children can be removed from parents by law. First is a Child in Need of Services (“ChINS”) petition, intended to protect children. A Court issues an order for removal and for the parent to undergo services (e.g., counseling). Second is when Federal law kicks in.

If a child has been removed from the parent’s home under a ChINS order for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the State is required to seek termination of the parent-child relationship (“TPR”). Termination is absolute.

A parent's interest in the care, custody, and control of his or her children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000). So parents have to undergo services that aim to remedy the reasons for removal. Providers’ reports are critical.

The Courts want to know that parents are making progress so that the reasons the kids were pulled are resolved. In Indiana many of the services ordered are privatized. When we tear down the wall between religion and government, “faith-based” providers can enter.

Some kids live in hellish conditions. That’s why we have ChINS and TPR statutes. But if we tear down the wall between religion and government, we run the risk of parents, in ChINS and TPR actions, being “judged” through the prism of religion.

A Family Case Manager (“FCM”), in Indiana, is critical to the success or failure of a parent’s participation in services. An FCM whose religion requires her or him to view non-hetero couples as evil would have the backing of the State to further that prejudice. This is one example.

Ultimately government will have to determine who is a “real” Christian. Many people died in The Reformation for this reason. As a kid I visited several churches. In one a preacher demeaned people who only “sprinkle” (vs complete immersion) for baptism.

40 years ago this country was hurt by the Moral Majority, which was neither. Today only 16% of adults in the U.S. identify as evangelicals. They don’t want to run things. They only carry out the will of their supreme deity.

The erosion of the separation between religion and government has hurt education. Some mock evolution as “only” a theory. (1) “Theory” has specific meaning in science. (2) How badly has the fight against COVID been hurt by people who disregard science for - what?

I could describe Mr Beckwith’s lack of understanding of other aspects of The Constitution and law, but I’ll wait. Tonight should be fun. 8 p.m., Indiana time (EDT) on “Mouthwash,” to be found on Facebook. And I have my Antifa Secret Decoder Ring!

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