Whether the issue is guns, gays, or Roe v. Wade, people who claim to be patriotically secular in their politics warn Christians to leave their faith out of political decision-making. Religion and public life are a dangerous mix, they say, and for that reason, our nation was supposedly founded on a separation of government and religion. But this is the misconception of those who think America is like France, with its tradition of strictly secular public life (laicite) tracing back to the French Revolution of 1789.
Such an unaccommodating hostility to religion has never been our tradition and was never intended to be. "Congress shall pass no law establishing religion...," our Constitution reads, but it does not forbid government having anything to do with religion at all.
It is traditional in America to allow religion into public life, to allow government and religion to occupy the same civic space, as it were.
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