Archive for Friday, March 9, 2012

Wall or hedge?

March 9, 2012


I strongly protest politicians advocating an “absolute wall of separation between church and state.”  Probably I do not know — nor has it been explicit — what an “absolute wall” means.

The phrase “wall of separation” was in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptists in 1802. Roger Williams in 1644 had advocated a “hedge or wall of separation.” There is a difference between a wall and a hedge — penetrability and visibility. (Once I heard that Jefferson spoke of “a line of separation between church and state,” but I could not find the citation.)

One cannot bifurcate one’s civic self from religious self — and I hope no one tries. As a voter, I value knowing what the candidate is and believes. Such data informs my choices. Candidate John F. Kennedy provided significant understanding, which I expect (almost) all candidates to affirm publicly and personally. 

A “line of separation between church and state” for me means there is an institutional separation and a functional interaction between church and state. A “wall” is impossible and prohibitive. And an “absolute wall”? 


Ragingbear 6 years, 3 months ago

True peace will never be achieved until the last king is strangled using the entrails of the last priest.

Ragingbear 6 years, 3 months ago

The priest said that it was "Not of God" and then pooped in the holy water.

beatrice 6 years, 3 months ago

Did you even try with the old civility?

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Conrad seems to misunderstand JFK's comments on this issue.

In a speech to Baptist ministers, JFK discussed the issue of church and state, and made it quite clear that he expected presidents and legislators to follow the Constitution, not their religious beliefs, when engaged in political decisions.

That means that regardless of one's religious belief, one uses the Constitution, not the Bible and one's understanding of it.

jafs 6 years, 3 months ago


Read the letter again, he specifically quotes JFK, and does so incorrectly.

If politicians can't separate the two, and want to use their religious belief, rather than the Constitution, to inform their actions in office, they should resign.

The oath they take is to support the Constitution, not the Bible.

Patricia Davis 6 years, 3 months ago

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Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

We used bifurcated terminals all the time at King Radio. But, you would have considered that usage of the term to be quite boring. The only thing it meant was that the terminal split into two parts, and therefore the leads of two or sometimes more electrical components could be very securely soldered into it, and thus withstand the vibration from the engine that the device would be subjected to without failure while the aircraft that used the device was in flight.

parrothead8 6 years, 3 months ago

You don't deal in facts much, do you? Just hyperbole, feel-good terms like "doer" and "leader", and archaic words like "lunatical."

It's not the left that's having a problem keeping their religion out of their politics.

somedude20 6 years, 3 months ago

"Yeah, and why shouldn't a vegetarian who takes a job a McDonald's refuse to serve burgers? Because promoting vegetarianism isn't any part of the job, and giving people meat is"

Well put!

Peacemaker452 6 years, 3 months ago

Off subject, but note that Adams correctly describes the United States as a group of states, not a single entity. “The United States of America have…”

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

The reason Mr. Don Conrad was not able to find a quotation for Thomas Jefferson mentioning “a line of separation between church and state” is for the simple reason that he did not say that, it is a very slight misquotation. Here it is, correctly:

"in an 1802 letter to a group of New England Baptists, Jefferson wrote that the First Amendment creates a “high wall of separation between church and state.”"

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