Approaching The Cliff
But this article is not about the fiscal cliff. There is another cliff and it exists at the line that separates church and state.
Dire conditions for liberty loom if we continue to approach that fine line that separates church and state. If we continue to move ever closer to the cliff, at some point we must either stop or go over the edge. We can’t keep moving closer and closer to the edge forever. If we do nothing and continue the status quo, we will go over the cliff.
There are forces today who are actively working to eliminate the separation of church and state. Some will actually admit as much. But most are more clever than that with their strategy, more stealthy. They will even say they respect the separation of church and state (with lots of exceptions, of course).
They say they abide by the separation of church and state while simultaneously getting as close as possible to the line of separation. “We respect the separation of church and state, EXCEPT…” “I respect the separation of church and state, BUT…” They say that their activities are not crossing the line, and in some cases that may be technically true. But they get as close as possible to the line, as close to the edge of that cliff as they can. Why? Are they daredevils? Thrill-seekers? If the approach the edge of the cliff, you could say they didn’t respect the line between life and death. If you respect the line of separation between church and state, wouldn’t you want to stay as far away from it as possible? If you don’t want to go over the cliff, why wouldn’t you stay away from the edge? If you want to get as close as possible to the line of separation, is that really respect for it?
No, rather than respecting the separation of church and state, they are deliberately blurring the line. If you want to breach the line, then first blur the line, then no one knows where the line is – cloud the edge so that no one can see the edge and people lose their fear of the edge. Then eventually, they can tell the people that there really is no edge, that the cliff is really only a myth. The notion we must wait until the line of church/state separation is literally crossed until we raise the alarms is damaging to liberty. If we wait until the line has been crossed, it is already too late. The idea of a line of restraint is to prevent the danger.
Opponents of church/state separation tell us that we should not raise the flag before a violation actually occurs. What if we took that approach about warning against the nearby cliff? Should we wait until someone goes over the cliff before sounding the alarm?
It is naive to think that liberty will only be breached in blatantly obvious occurrences. Admittedly there is some gray area. But the fact a gray area exists is not a reason to ignore or abolish the separation altogether or ignore the encroachments until, finally, they crossed the line, thus making the gray area larger. We should be making the gray area smaller.
It is our job to sound the warning BEFORE the line is crossed.
Even if the concept of separation of church and state had been abused by overemphasizing it, the fact that some good principle has been abused, is not a reason in itself to abolish that good principle. Christianity (and other religions) has been abused for centuries, and Christians would admit that. They would say the problem is not Christianity itself, but an abuse of Christianity. They certainly would not agree to the abolition of Christianity because it has been abused. The same holds true with separation of church and state, or any good principle.
If the line is blurred then it becomes difficult to know when it actually is crossed. We should be actively staying away from the edge and sounding the alarm when that edge is approached.