I’m getting tired of this crap. If it’s not the ACLU suing because of “the Silver Ring Thing” it’s some idiot from Spanaway, WA, claiming that a license plate “offended” her. To paraphrase some other idiots, “If you don’t like Biblical license plates, don’t have one.”
Only in the deluded minds of the anti-religious bigots in this country has the “separation of church and state” (whoever coined that phrase deserves to be hung from the ceiling by his (her) little toes and made to read the Constitution over and over again) meant that Christians cannot do what they want with their own property, or that Christians have no right to participate in public discourse. Why do I single out Christians? Because the ACLU and their ilk could not care less about Muslims, Jews, or Hindus and their “religious speech.”
What did the complainant say? “I was offended that I have to be prayed over by a license plate.” Poor baby. I retract my former statement about her being an idiot. She’s actually delusional and hallucinatory. License plates don’t pray. A praying license plate– that would be offensive indeed. I might be more inclined to believe her if she was offended that Jesus died for her on the cross. That is offensive. License plates? Not really.
But back to the original point of this. The separation between the Church and the State is only between a particular church and the state. The state is not endorsing a particular religion or denomination if it allows people to put “John 3:16” on a license plate. Neither is it endorsing a particular religion or denomination if it funds abstinence education, or “faith-based organizations” or any number of other things to which the ACLU is opposed. Until the government begins supporting only Methodists or Baptists or, happy day (not really), Lutherans, the government is upholding the original intention of keeping Church and State separate.
A brother of mine has posted his summer reading list here. Submit a title or two.
Some of my own recommendations?
I just reread C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy and The Abolition of Man. Good, and good. Try anything by Chesterton, especially Heretics and Orthodoxy. (Those are links to his work online, but it’s best if you buy them so you can highlight the best quotes–you may run out of yellow ink, however.) Reading Surprised by Joy, I was reminded of some fiction I read in college: George Macdonald’s Phantastes and Lilith. Both fantasy stories I loved, when I’ve never really thought I’d like books about fairies and other mythological creatures. The other author I picked up in college was Charles Williams. He was recommended to me in high school, but I couldn’t get into his writing then. Later I picked up Descent into Hell again, and I loved it. (Liked the fiction much better than his non-fiction theological work.) All Hallows’ Eve is another good one by Williams. There was at least one other one I read, but I can’t think of the title now.
It is no mistake that all of these were in some way connected to my love of Lewis. Mere Christianity never gets old.
What do I want to read? The Iliad is waiting…
Recently seen in the parking lot of a Baptist(!) hospital:
“If you can’t find Jesus, look for his mother”
To my mind, the worst kind of Roman piety.
I think Chesterton is good for almost anything (Jon, stop laughing). So, here’s one of my favorite quotes, and I think you can easily see the application to liturgy or anything else that has been established by long use (he applied it originally to the family, as you can see from the last few sentences).
IN the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, or that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion. We might even say that he is seeing things in a nightmare. …
If Dick or Susan wish to destroy the family because they do not see the use of it, I say as I said in the beginning; if they do not see the use of it, they had much better preserve it. They have no business even to think of destroying it until they have seen the use of it. (The Thing: Why I am a Catholic, “The Drift from Domesticity”)
And while you’re thinking about it, see Bunnie’s post on the extreme usefulness of the liturgy for those who are unable, for whatever reason, to participate as they once did. It is the almost frenetic change of modern churches that can only appeal to the relatively small segment of the population who are absolutely free to focus on their own “worship experience.”
“Free will, after the fall, has power to do good only in a passive capacity, but it can always do evil in an active capacity” (Luther, 1518).