Magazine article The Humanist

The Issue at Hand

Magazine article The Humanist

The Issue at Hand

Article excerpt

Whether it's evangelical Protestants planting Ten Commandments monuments on government property or Roman Catholic clergy coercing Catholic legislators with religious sanctions, the effort is the same, to make laws and practices conform to conservative Christian doctrines--to sanctify the state. So we address these matters head on in this issues cover stories. Jacob Rolls, drafter of a leading Ten Commandments amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, explains "Why Ten Commandments Displays on Government Property Are Unconstitutional." Robert Grant, a Humanist legal scholar who was raised Catholic, describes the Catholic hierarchy's recent policy of "Putting the Squeeze on Politicians."

Many will argue, of course, that this sort of problem is something of a constant in U.S. history. We ought to be used to it by now. From the nation's origins to the present, the American people have fought over the place and role of religion in law and society.

This, however, is no argument for retiring from the struggle. Cliche though it is, eternal vigilance remains the price of liberty. Furthermore, religious incursions into government have recently reached epidemic proportions. The evidence is the wide variety of areas affected. Not only do we face major controversies like abortion and the right to die but minor ones like the new Puritanism that has overtaken prime time cartoon shows and the Super Bowl. Producers and sponsors are running scared in an orgy of nervous self-censorship. …

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