Dana Blankenhorn wrote:
When the nation state came to glory in the 19th century, it was as a bulwark against religion. The great threat of our time is the unity of the state and religion
I wish citizens of the United States would think a bit more deeply about our history, particularly the context in which First Amendment was written. The world from 313 AD until when the U.S. Constiution was ratified was basically governed by a theocracy. You had the Holy Roman Empire and Rome ruling most of the western world, then came Protestantism and it’s alignment with kings and The Thirty Years War, and then, more directly you have the Church of England that emerged to consolidate power in England when Henry VIII wanted an annulment that the Pope would not grant.
The founders knew how those who seek power, be they kings, dictators, oligarchs, and political parties, use religion to increase that power. After all, it’s one thing for a President to say something, it’s another when a preacher claims what he or she says is the literal word of god.
So, while the first ammendment constrains the U.S. government of what it can do to religions, more importantly it is intended to prevent the merger of religious and political power.
I agree with Dana’s warning about our real risk, which is the emergence of a religious-based rule in the United States. It started with Ronald Regan creating the snowball and rolling it down the hill to create the “Religious Right” under the pretext of a Pro-Life movement. It picked up more steam to elect George W. Bush that lead to a tremendous amount of lost life in wars authorized by national emergencies that are still not over. And finally in a mutal in-sincere but profitable alliance, enabled and put in place Donald Trump, and with him the breaking of everything Jesus taught.
Please, if you call yourself Christian and find yourself agreeing completely with these claims of religions liberty, stop and consider the very real possibility that your actions are actualy enabling the very opposite of what you think will be the outcome. In the process you are handling over all your authority, necessary for people to even consider the Good News, let alone follow Jesus.