Reading this post by Winnifred Sullivan on the Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College decisions, I got the gist of her argument: that we, no matter our political persuasion, have extended the legal “religious freedom” idea to its logical point of absurdity.
But something caught my eye in this paragraph:
But when the church and the state went their separate ways—when the church was disestablished—the intimate articulation of political, legal, and religious fictions lost their logic on a national scale. They no longer recognize one another. The legal and religious fictions of religious freedom have become lies designed to extend the life of the impossible idea that church and state can still work together after disestablishment. There is no neutral place from which to distinguish the religious from the non-religious. There is no shared understanding of what religion, big “R” religion, is. Let’s stop talking about big “R” religion.
This perhaps best articulates the disconnect between religion and the state in which organized religion – and the various means of power which it can assume – is much more free to run amuck over the rights of individual human beings.
I think that, rather than being content with this current separation of religion and state, in which the two “agree” to separate from each other (which has stopped applying in many places), something should stand in the gap between the two. Some sort of fiction – not just an institution, but an entire legal fiction – should act as a buffer between religion and the secular state, in such a way that the state would be able to eliminate any reference to the words “religion” or “faith” from documented law and jurisprudence.
In fact, for any institution or fiction which considers itself secular or nonsectarian (such as education), something should stand in the gap between religion and such-and-such nonsectarian institution.
But what could be strong enough, conducive enough to hold together that wall of separation?
Can the interfaith/intervalues coalitions – those organizations which classify themselves specifically as explicitly welcoming of multiple religions – be part of that wall?