America is uniquely exceptional in my assessment when I first arrived on these shores. I learned something here which I have never come across in any other place and the more I traveled the better I saw its qualities.
One of those qualities is the separation of church and state. This is very unique because the concept is not at all apparent in my native country. The government in that country was into everything within its borders and occasionally beyond its borders. The government there is so huge and intrusive that one needed a government issued ration book to buy food, fuel and clothing.
Religion is one area of intrusion by that government and its meddling; it even has a Ministry of Religion to regulate and direct almost all aspects of practice as well as conduct of examinations for certain higher studies for the clergy…mainly consisting of monks and nuns. Not unusually monks have been arrested, jailed, beaten and killed–individually and collectively as happened during the Saffron protests of 2007. Monasteries have been raided and plundered whenever the government deemed it necessary for its anti-sedition enforcement. .
That is why I thought it was really neat that none of those familiar practices are part of the landscape in America. The practice of one’s religion is free from government interference and it is even guaranteed by the constitution. I was still quite a naive young man and relatively apolitical; happy in the thought and belief that this is indeed a great country where my human rights are truly protected.
By and large my first two decades were rather tranquil except for the world shaking events that erupted from time to time. Then I began to notice that the separation of church and state was a dynamic process and I became more and more aware that the church part of the equation was being slowly but surely removed from the village square.
Since the government portion of the equation was becoming bigger and bigger and the increasing presence of government encroaches on daily activities the separation of church from state has begun to materialize as an active sport. The opportunity for this seems to be increasing as the footprint of government increases day by day.
What used to be the non-interference of the state in religion slowly was being transformed from a passive to an active removal of religion from the government–examples are abound
Since government has grown so much larger the contact it is making with religion has become broader and ubiquitous. The movement to actively remove religion from its contact with the state slowly became the norm rather than the exception. Recently in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has ordered that religious groups cannot use public schools but labor unions can do so.
Christmas displays were removed from places that has anything to do with the state and we are at the period in time where wishing one another at Christmastime is being modified to “Happy Holidays.”
I am not a Christian but I do not have a problem wishing others “Merry Christmas” and I do not take offense if anybody else wishes me the same; after all the holiday on December 25th is Christmas Day. I believe that we may have gone a little too far in taking God out of Country, but it is still well and good since up to this point it is only odd but not exactly quaint.
Then came the mandate from Obamacare that all health insurances must cover contraceptives, sterilization procedures and abortifacients for all employees provided by religiously affiliated entities with very few strict exceptions. Now it is no longer a separation of church from state but a direct encroachment of state into church.
This is definitely the first determined step of government in the door of the church and before long we shall be faced with the occupation of the church itself. The Arabs have known this a long time ago and they should knowing their history of serial autocracy: “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow” is an Arab saying. People can dispute the origin of this proverb but the point is well made.
This is frightening.