U.S.: Secular or Christian?

Rosalind Helderman, in this morning's Post, looks at the battle over the role of faith in politics. The article focuses on some of the things Rick Santorum has said on the campaign trail that are sure to raise eyebrows, but have only come to light now that the spotlight has shown on him more closely. One thing is obvious, although no one in the GOP can bring themselves to admit it: It is true that American society and culture are more deeply religious than other Western democracies, but it is also true that our constitutional system is decidedly secular. And, Mr. Santorum is never going to acknowledge that these twin poles of religioisty and secularity have co-existed as well as they have only because in America, religion is viewed in a distinctly Protestant way, as an essentially private matter, between the individual and God. The line, therefore, between religion and politics is always shifting but, as we saw in the past month, we Catholics, with our institutions that educate and heal and care for the poor, have a decidedly non-Protestant view of the role of the Church in society and so drawing the line between secularity and religion is even trickier. Much food for thought.


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