Friday, July 15, 2005

Religion and "public" life

In his recent New York Times column Mr. Bush, Pick a Genius , David Brooks (who I often agree with) endorses Michael McConnell as a potential Supreme Court nominee. In his writings and rulings, McConnell has resisted religion-state separationism, because...
The problem with the Separationist view, he has argued in essays and briefs, is that it's not practical. As government grows and becomes more involved in health, charity, education and culture issues, it begins pushing religion out of those spheres. The Separationist doctrine leads inevitably to discrimination against religion. The state ends up punishing people who are exercising a constitutional right.
Right problem, David, wrong answer. If government instead shrunk and became less involved in health, charity, education and culture issues, then people would be able to freely consider religion when choosing how to deal with illness, who to donate to, how to educate their kids, and what to do on a weekend. Moreover, without a big fat state distorting the markets in these realms, people would have more and better choices in regards to non-religous issues as well, like value and methodology.


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