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July 19, 2007 / compassioninpolitics

Faith in the Public Square

Faithful Democrats has a great explanation of the role of religion in the public sphere. The government must therefore protect and honor the freedom of all citizens to incorporate their faith (if any) when expressing themselves in the public sphere. They give 5 reasons why religion belongs in the public square:

Serving Jesus faithfully requires Christians to proclaim our political values proudly and without apologies. But as Jesus himself argued, our faith does not negate our responsibilities in a secular nation. And in our modern, pluralistic society, we have an obligation to protect the rights of all people — religious or not — to express their beliefs in the public sphere.

Key Points
•The Constitution’s first amendment requires freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Our government must neither silence nor coerce religious expression.
•Keeping the government out of organized religion is meant to strengthen the practice of religion, not weaken it.
•Jesus recognized the distinction between religion and government when he said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22 and Luke 20:20-26)

As Senator Barack Obama asserted:
“Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King — indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history — were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their ‘personal morality’ into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

Feel free to check out the original post at Faithful Democrats, which provides more depth and important distinctions

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