Let me be clear. When I say that the separation of church and state is vital, I mean that government should not be legislating anyone's faith. The government should never act only at the behest of any religious group. Nor should religion ever become an arm of any government body or political party.
I do very much believe that people of faith should very much let the government hear their voices. I just spent a week at Methodist University with some of the more political United Methodist Youth we have. I listened to them as they talked about an impressive range of political issues and encouraged them to carefully and prayerfully consider what the teachings we believe in have to say about those issues. I encouraged them to give voice to their conclusions in a way that challenged whomever it was necessary to challenge.
I've recently become pretty fascinated by the idea that the Old Testament prophets were in place to show governments what was right. This is where I think people of faith need to be in the political debate.
"But Ben," I hear you saying, "isn't this what the 'religious right' thinks they're doing?" "Surely," you say, "you can't be advocating their nonsense."
You're right. I'm not. There has to be something the, for lack of a better term, "religious left" can do other than blog furiously about people who use our faith to justify all kinds of different horrible.
We should be more than against them. We should be for something. More on this when I'm well-rested and reasonably certain I'm not just rambling at five in the morning.
To be continued...