Nietzsche claimed that if men took God seriously, they would still be burning heretics at the stake. In the same spirit, one supposes, are the notions that if men really cherished moral truth, they would suppress all beliefs that they considered wrong, and that if men still cared about the sanctity of the marriage bed, they would go back to making adulterers wear the scarlet A.Today two different groups of people agree with conditional statements of this sort. In the first group are the ordinary bigots, who are always among us. The second are a kind of modern backlash—call it the reaction—found principally among the “cultural elite.” For instance, whereas the bigots respond to Nietzsche’s conditional by saying, “Yes, that’s why we should burn heretics,” the reactionaries respond to it by saying, “No, that’s why we should suppress the public expression of belief in God.”These reactionaries claim to love tolerance, but, misunderstanding it, they strangle it in their embrace.
Can We Let Them Rest in Peace?
Vladimir Lenin, leader of the revolution that brought Communism to Russia 100 years ago, died in 1924. Since then, his body has been on display in a mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square. Scientists, using chemical baths and processes, have preserved the empty shell of his corpse—its brain and all its organs have been removed. Every now and then, they must “freshen up” the corpse with another treatment. Earlier this year, for the centennial, Lenin was fitted with a new set of clothes. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian President Boris Yeltsin favored burying Lenin. That didn’t happen for various reasons. The government refused to pay to maintain the corpse, but private donors stepped in. In 2011, in an online poll by Vladimir Putin’s Russia United Party, 70 percent of respondents thought Lenin should be buried. Yet in 2001 Putin had opposed reburial as implying that generations of good Soviet citizens had supported false values. In 2016, the government set aside 13 million rubles to maintain Lenin’s corpse. Lenin’s ideas about Communism, though now discredited, still linger in the shadows. Similarly, his corpse is still displayed in public, for it cannot be retired without the admission of grave failures. This all reminds me of Charles Darwin.
Another case of someone who doesn’t know theology, trying to be a theologian.
By now, plenty has been written on the issue of Mike Pence’s wife teaching at a Christian school that supposedly “bans” (the preferred word of the major news outlets, but not really accurate) LGBTQ students.
For those on the cultural left, this is a monumental and stunning discovery. Indeed, we are told (ironically, by the Huffington Post) that the Huffington Post “broke” the story—implying that a remarkable scandal had been uncovered.
Thankfully, many have pointed out that this whole “scandal” is much ado about nothing. There are thousands of Christian schools around the country just like the one that Karen Pence teaches at. And they are all doing something rather unremarkable: they are merely teaching the historical Christian position about sexuality.
But what is remarkable about such public discussions, is that everyone suddenly becomes a Christian theologian. Even people who typically have no association with Christianity are quick to don the theologian’s hat and give a lecture on what Christians really believe.
“Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state” – Lynch v. Donnelly, 1984
Justice William Orville Douglas served the longest term on the bench in the Supreme Court’s history — 36 years, until his death JANUARY 19, 1980. He was one of the eight Supreme Court Justices nominated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. He previously taught law at Columbia Law School and Yale Law School and served on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Justice William O. Douglas wrote the majority decision in the 1952 case of Zorach v. Clauson:”The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State …Otherwise, the state and religion would be aliens to each other — hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly …Municipalities would not be permitted to render police or fire protection to religious groups. Policemen who helped parishioners into their places of worship would violate the Constitution. Prayers in our legislative halls; the appeals to the Almighty in the messages of the Chief Executive; the proclamations making Thanksgiving Day a holiday;’So Help Me God’ in our courtroom oaths;
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