Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Church & State

A year or so ago I read an editorial out of Europe, suggesting that American churches should be grateful for the barrier between church and state, observing that in a continent without such barriers (and even with official state churches) the culture of dependency of the church upon the state was associated with much lower levels of church attendance, contributions by parishioners, and religious belief as compared to the United States. As the Bush Administration continues its course of paying church groups to perform charitable works, both prospectively through "faith based initiatives" or retroactively following disaster relief efforts, we may have the opportunity to see if the same holds true in this country. (Why "dig deep" for the collection tray, after all, when the government is paying for the church's good works?)

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