One of the important abilities needed in good policy making is the ability to reason. One should be able to look at evidence with a neutral eye and come to a conclusion based on logical analysis. This is far different from what is required of religious faith. Faith, by definition, does not depend for its existence on reason, logic, or evidence. Unfortunately, many people of faith cannot seem to keep these two distinct ways of thinking separate. Hence we have a seemingly never ending series of public controversies over the meaning of the establishment of religion clause in the First Amendment of our Constitution.
As a Libertarian, and a person of faith myself, I respect the deeply held religious views of others. I am thankful for a country that dedicates itself to this respect. My complaint is with the sophistry that passes for a defense of policies aimed at giving government sanction and support to the views of religious persons.
I have just read a long article by a very learned fellow that attempts to prove that putting up the Ten Commandments in a public courthouse does not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment clause. Although, better written than most of these attempts the same basic logical flaws are included in the argument. The basic argument goes like this. The framers of the Constitution were religious men. They didn’t really mean to leave God out of the Constitution. All the Establishment clause did was prohibit the State form setting up one particular Church as the official church and supporting it with involuntary taxes. References to “Creator,” “Divine Providence,” etc., included in other texts written by some of our founding fathers refer to the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Therefore, in this writer’s view, it is not only acceptable to have the State put the Ten Commandments in its courthouses; it is advisable. Whew