The salient issues of today that touch on SOCAS are things like prayers and Bibles at public educational institutions. Since I believe public schools (ie. gov't money) to be as unConstitutional as public religion, it's not a big quandry for me. Abolish them both!
Regarding the existence of historical monuments of a religious nature that some want to ban (being offensive to atheists and non-Protestant religions), since they are a part of our history, they don't violate religious freedom because they do not advocate for any religion. If someone can't stand looking at our history, too bad. Same with the Confederate flag. People have a right to display it, just don't try flying it over the Stars and Stripes.
I think your critics are being rather harsh on you, Hank, and in return you are being over-harsh on them. I don't see how any of the posters here are dragging us down the collectivist statist socialist rat-hole. As long, at least, as all they want is the right to pray voluntarily in school, bring a Bible to class, or preserve an historical monument that contains religious words and imagery.
An interesting point not mentioned (that I have noticed) on this thread is that Madison was speaking only about separation of religious institutions from the Federal government, as being offensive to the Constitution. The states had the right (and still do!) to establish a formal religion unless their own state constitution forbids it. Of course, Madison is clearly in favor of the states following what is Constitutionally required of the Federal government, but he would probably have been considered quite looney to argue that the relaxation and final abolition of official religion in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware was Constitutionally required.
The words "Congress shall make no law..." are rather disinclusive. It leaves a lot of room for recognition of religion in general and our Christian heritage in particular by government at all levels. For one example, I fail to see how declaring a 'National Day of Prayer' would violate "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" The defining questions for me are:
Is it funded with government money? And
Is it compelling in nature?
“The salient issues of today that touch on SOCAS are things like prayers and Bibles at public educational institutions. Since I believe public schools (ie. gov’t money) to be as unConstitutional as public religion, it’s not a big quandry for me. Abolish them both!”