What Ireland can teach the U.S. about the separation of church and state
I read this the other day on my Android via The Week app. Thought my readers might enjoy it too. It’s a sobering reminder that even if the U.S. were to suddenly outlaw abortion and teach Christianity in the schools, like many religious conservatives want (or at least something close to that), that’s not going to magically solve our nation’s problems. History shows that when religion is mandated by the State, people become less religious, not more religious. —–Aaron
By Tish Durkin
I never thought I’d find myself living Rick Santorum’s dream, but here I am. After all, I live in Ireland, where there has never been any of the “absolute separation of church and state” that Santorum and a politically significant, passionately committed bloc of like-minded religious conservatives abhor. Far from limiting state involvement in religion, the Irish constitution enshrines it. There isn’t just prayer in most public schools; there is full-on Christian — almost always Catholic — education. (Just last week, on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, my 6-year-old skipped in from her government-funded school with a cross of soot on her forehead.) Government agencies sometimes give cash to poor families to help cover the costs of First Holy Communion and Confirmation finery; recently, when the continuation of this practice in fiscally strangled times caused a public outcry, the objection was that such grants were unaffordable, not that they were religious.