First off, I must say that I have been on vacation the past 6 day. In New York for a wedding.
Good to be back!
Does the Wall of Separation only exist between Church and State, or Religion and State?
As James Madison once stated "Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. It is strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States"
Under the United States Constitution, the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. While both are discussed in the context of the separation of church and state, it is more often discussed in regard to whether certain state actions would amount to an impermissible government establishment of religion.
Some strict separationists claim that most, or even all, government funding of religion is unconstitutional.
Much of the constitutional law on the subject has rested on the broad principle that government funding of religion is permissible as long as the funding does not make the government responsible for advancing a particular set of religious beliefs
(Remember these last 5 words here).
Well, then we have this, from the Daily Caller...
U.S. Funding Mosques Abroad
Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the planned mosque near New York’s ground zero comes the disclosure that American taxpayers are funding the construction and renovation of mosques around the world.
The State Department’s U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is spending millions of dollars on at least 29 mosque-related projects in 18 countries, including Pakistan, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, and Albania.
State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson told The Daily Caller website that the AFCP is a type of “diplomatic effort and outreach.”
She said: “It is helping to preserve our cultural heritage. It is not just to preserve religious structures. It is not to preserve a religion. It is to help us as global inhabitants preserve cultures.”
The State Department recently provided Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, Ranking Republican on the Committee on Foreign Relations, with a document explaining that the funding of mosques was given a green light in 2003. At that time the Justice Department said the Constitution did not bar using federal funds to preserve religious structures if they had cultural significance.
But Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, told The Daily Caller that funding mosque renovation and rehabilitation is “disastrously wrongheaded and unconstitutional. They are not going to win hearts and minds. It is not as if they are going to say, ‘the Americans built this mosque for us so we shouldn’t wage jihad on them.’”
He added: “A mosque is a mosque is a mosque. It is where prayers happen. That is a religious installation.”
And Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said: “We have always felt this type of outreach is completely ineffective and that ultimately we have to approach it like the Cold War where we are fighting an ideology.
“If we are going to have this long war of ideas we cannot fund these religious institutions. We can fund anti-Islamist institutions based in liberty.”
So I guess it would be OK from here on out, that once this country elects someone who believes in Christianity, we can call funding of "Church" by "State" preserving "our" cultural heritage.
Let not forget this come this Nov and in 2012!