I’m still in the middle of Kansas visiting Michaelyn’s family. Right now I’ve managed to sneak away from the six year-olds (who are too big to fit into an oven) to catch up on a bit of the news and what not. So posts today are going to be of the quick hit variety. I’ll be back to lengthy tirades tomorrow.
First up, an article on Melissa Rogers, Obama’s appointee to be the director of the office of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. Turns out, she’s pretty adamant about the separation of church and state! This part of the article caught my eye.
A UNIQUE mixture of political and spiritual power was on view today as the world watched the inaugural mass of Pope Francis, with representatives of over 130 governments, including 31 heads of state, in attendance. The Argentine pontiff emphasised his personal preference for modesty and simplicity with some subtle gestures, such as ordering up a ring made mainly of silver, rather than the expected solid gold one.
When you preach the virtue of poverty while considering jewelry made of mere silver in a palace lined with gold to be modest, you might be the Catholic church.
A few days before the Catholic church’s earthly and religious power were on global display, the Obama administration (represented in Rome today by Vice-President Joseph Biden) signalled its own very different idea of the proper relationship between church and state. It did so by giving a senior job to a high-powered lawyer who takes a sophisticated liberal view, in American terms, of the terms on which government and faiths should interact. Melissa Rogers is the new director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighbourhood Partnerships; in an earlier life she was the general counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. In other words, she is a Baptist separationist, taking her cue from a particular interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Baptists of Danbury in 1802, calling for a “wall of separation” between religion and government.
Of course, I’d rather have her as the director of neighborhood partnerships. But having a strict separation person at the helm might deter religious people from trying to acquire federal funds to proselytize. Then again, if that’s a constant worry, maybe it’s time to just boot them out of the federal equation…what with them being churches and all, maybe they should be separate.