opinion: Public prayer: Is Supreme Court missing the point?
Religious organizations are part of “civil society”—the voluntary sector for which Americans are especially proficient. This was true centuries ago and it’s true now. Over half of all the social capital in America today—the bonds of belonging, meaning and commitment—are formed via religious organizations, says political scientist Robert Putnam. Religious organizations teach more than theology. They also teach the virtues that undergird democracy: honesty, altruism, generosity, hard work, and concern for the welfare of others.
The drafters of the Constitution understood this. The Religion Clauses in the Constitution were meant to prevent state-sponsored religion and to grant freedom for religion. But their intent was not to eliminate state support of religion’s role in civil society. The high court’s focus should be distinguishing between theological religion and civil religion, refusing to support the theological side but promoting the civil side of religious organizations.
Do you agree? Read more and join the conversation over at OurValues.org.