Throughout our nation’s history there has been conflict between religion and government. In fact, our nation came to be largely because of this conflict. And our founders established, through the first amendment to our Constitution, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The USA was born as a Christian nation; developed by Christians, and governed by Christians. Still, the separation of church and state has been, and remains, the subject of considerable debate. That’s partly because we view most offenses in terms of severity. A crime, in the eyes of government, might fall anywhere in the range of “not so bad” to “extremely bad”. Some crimes are rigidly enforced by the government; others are completely overlooked. Sometimes overlooking a minor crime can lead to one that is unthinkable.
When it comes to that “extremely bad” category, we Americans pretty much unanimously agree on one thing. Regardless of religious or political affiliation, we do not tolerate the murder of innocent people. Period. Anybody disagree with that? Anybody?
It’s the ultimate “right” and “wrong”. Most of us believe we’re born with an understanding of it. Still, we allow a few excuses for murder. Insanity. Crime of passion. Capital punishment? Abortion? War, maybe?
What happens when another culture or religion has a different view of “right” and “wrong”? Some radical Muslims are raised and required to believe that the murder of non-Muslims is not only acceptable, it is righteous. Their treatment of women, children, and minorities is abhorrent to us.
Should we non-Muslims accept their religious belief that the murder of innocent people is okay, in the name of tolerance? Conversely, if a non-Muslim kills a Muslim terrorist to protect innocent lives, is that righteous? What about killing a communist (that’s government, not religion) to protect innocent lives?
What sometimes seems simple (right vs. wrong) seldom is. There comes a time when tough decisions must be made, by our mortal American men and women – soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and political leaders. All we can do is base them on who we, as a nation, are and what we believe to be true and right.
Maybe that’s why “our” God gave his only son to die for our forgiveness, and to grant us peace.
Merry Christmas and God bless our military men and women and our leaders.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing over the plains
And the mountains in reply,
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis de-o