To Achieve Freedom Of or From Religion, Equal Protection is a Better Strategy Than Separation of Church and State

Dear readers: as I study for the GRE (oh, maths, I’d forgotten all about you!), I’ll be posting new pieces a little less frequently for a couple of weeks, though I’m still hard at work on the rest of the Douglass series. Here’s a piece I wrote about one year ago today, still a matter of concern though the recent spate of violence between police officers and enraged citizens has taken precedence in the news. We could all use to take a deep breath and commit ourselves anew to that generous-minded tolerance that makes us the envy of the world when and where it’s practiced. The spiraling rise of polarization around the recent shootings of citizens by police and vice versa, and around the presidential run of a self-worshipping fear-mongering pop-celebrity whopper-spouting icon, is undermining that great American tradition.

Ordinary Philosophy

Generally, I’m a big fan of such organizations as the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The former, founded in 1978, is headed by Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker, enthusiastic and principled atheists who believe that true religious freedom entails freedom from religious interference in matters of government or public goods. They carry out their mission in two main ways: through letter-writing and litigation when the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”) is violated, and through public awareness campaigns via social media, network news appearances, a radio show (also available as a podcast; I’m a regular listener), billboards, and ads.

The latter, founded in 1947, is headed by Reverend Barry Lynn, an ordained United Church of Christ minister. The AU pursues many of the same goals as the FFRF…

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