After posting earlier about the Enfield school graduation conflict, an "Anonymous" commenter posted his (or her) disagreement with my ideas.
"Anonymous" cited the separation of Church and State as one of our basic fundamentals of our Democracy. It's a catchy phrase, but what exactly was meant by the "separation" and what do we choose to scrutinize and what do we choose to overlook.
If there is such a thing as separation of Church and State, what is it and where does it begin?
Let's look at the supposed "separation" starting on a local level. Millions of dollars are given out to religious organizations in Hartford for so-called community initiatives. Some are legitimate programs producing results, many are not.
And if a program funded by the City is held in a church building, how is that any different than a graduation program being forbidden from being held in a church? Are secular symbols removed for after-school or daycare programs held in or around a church building?
And when a program is publicly funded and run by a religious organization, where do we draw the line? Is it ok for a church or minister that receives funds from the City to then endorse Mayoral candidates or politicians from the pulpit? No one can deny that happens in Hartford.
Is it OK for a minister receiving funds from the City to stand behind a recently arrested Mayor and support him with a "prayer vigil"? Or is that just part of "doing business" in Hartford?
That line of separation between Church and State seems to be non-existent when it comes to Hartford. Where is the ACLU on this?
And then we go to the state level. The Roman Catholic Church probably has one of the strongest lobbying efforts at the Capitol, influencing the approval or denial of many legislative efforts. It's the way the system works, but how do you pick and choose what is acceptable and what is not.
And so much for that separation when both Congress and our State Legislature begin every session, every single day with a prayer.
And one of the most interesting "separation's" to me that seems to really cloud that "separation" theory is the Obama Administration's Office of Faith Based Initiatives.
While some see religion being brought into society as a bad thing, is religion not what has held our communities together during good times, but especially during bad times. No one is "forced" to accept or abandon religion, the same as no one is forced into a life of crime or drugs. It is a conscious decision one makes and the same as a decision to use drugs, if it is not your thing, "just say no".
I think I've said enough about this a long time ago, but it just seems bizarre to me that a couple of parents would go to the extremes to alienate their children from religion, rather than explain that diversity is what makes this country great.
You are free to make decisions for yourself. Believe in God, don't believe in God. Choose to drink alcohol, choose not to drink alcohol. The list can go on and on, but will looking at a cross as you walk into an auditorium to receive your diploma really scar you for life?
And is a little more civility and tolerance really a bad thing for us to strive for today?