Condoleeza Rice spoke recently at the World Congress of Religions. She gave an insightful view of the role religion may play in public life. She spoke of the 'dangers of state religions, but said, "I do think that there has to be room for religious people in the political life of the country... Increasingly, around the world, it is acceptable to isolate religious people -- to take to extremes the idea of state and church..." "I think it is particularly troubling. Religious people need to have a place in the public square. What is dangerous is when faith and religion have been appropriated as nationalism."
The place of God in Government is a safeguard for the human spirit that is not necessarily religion. The Constitutional basis is founded on the precept that God exists and guides. History (unless they choose to change it) has related this quite clearly in Western systems of government.
NPR did a segment on removing God from our coinage and pledge of allegiance. There was a lot of debate on both sides but mostly concern about the statements of God that came forward in the 50s. If we review the history of this nation (please see the 3-part documentary , 'God in America') every citizen will know how essential God has been in the fabric and foundation of this nation, USA. Without God acknowledged, our moral and inner strength when tragedies and dire circumstances occur are compromised. We need God always. Please never remove God from this Land.
The Great Seal of 1782 testifies to the historical placement of God in our nation.
A review of 'God's Politics' a book by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks mentions how Jewish scripture was less concerned about politics (that belongs in the 'scheme of human undertakings') and less about the essentials in the relationship between the State and the People (this was the Greek reality) and more about God, His covenant with humanity that committed them to self-government in accordance with God's law. God's divine commands may even precede moral behavior which is based on choice.
The fine line of defining limits between the church and state is an ongoing issue. To participate in community in a civic capacity as the Catholic Church (hospitals, universities, etc.) does there is a crossover into a matter of Government. When someone needs a job, they may not be wanting to espouse a religion but the Catholic universities etc can provide for their needs (whether out of convenience or necessity). They need a pay check to live on and feed their children. It may not be fair that civic entities are allowed to profess their faith at this level (in the civic capacity and responsibility) with the people. There needs to be choice so that the religion is still regarded as is the voice of the people and their unique beliefs.
When religions choose to participate in civic life (hospitals, universities, etc.) there may be a obligation for them to put aside doctrines that are too austere for the people they serve (employees, patients, etc.)
Maureen Kris is educated in advanced spiritual studies, political science and international relations. For more details please visit: http://brentwoodspiritualstudiesinstitute.org/maureen-kris-bio.html