I posted this in another thread, but I don't want it to get buried because I think it's an important point with all this "you can't let the Bible dictate cultural morality" talk going around. At the least, it should give you all some cannon-fodder for discussion.
Get over separation of church and state. There, I said it. In a shocking way, for shock value alone, because I don't believe it's that simple. But you guys have simplified separation of church and state such that it has to mean what you interpret it to mean. That's not the way early America interpreted it, by far. And in understanding any concept, wouldn't you agree that it's useful to look at the source of that concept, and to understand it in context, instead of from a postmodern perspective?
For instance: prior to the 1900's, and in the earliest days of the American experiment, God was far from a taboo subject in schools. It was a given that schoolchildren were raised in a community of faith (in fact, Christian faith, to be more specific). How is that compatible with the idea that religious moral values were "separated" from Government? I have an answer to that, but first, check out this link.
This is a link to the entire text of the New England Primer, 1805 edition. This was used in public schools. You might be a little surprised by it... give it a look-see.http://www.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/his341/nep1805contents.html
Now, here's a link to a brief explanation of the New England primer. It was used well into the 19th, by the way. http://www.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/neprimer.html
This should at least make some of you gawk, because basically this isn't the America you know. It's the American history, instead, that is glossed over in our high school history classes. I think there's a reason it's not taught... I'll let you make up your minds on that. But I certainly think there's an agenda in whitewashing the legacy of our forefathers' faith, in how far it was entwined with public instruction and the shaping of morality.
Basically, the Constitution's establishment clause states two things: there shall be no establishment of religion, NOR shall the free exercise thereof be prohibited.
The link below seems to be a balanced source that explains what this means in practical terms. As you might guess, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause actually butt heads, to a certain extent. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/estabinto.htm
I personally, as you might guess, take the more narrow view of what the establishment clause means. The founders were trying to avoid what they had run away from in Europe: forced observation of some particular religion and an officially established "state church". In context, this narrow view makes sense to me. After all, we're talking about a society that was using the New England primer in public schools, that saw no problem with indoctrinating children on the taxpayer dime. (Sorry, I calls it as I sees it, and I'm being blunt here). It wasn't until the humanist revolution of the 1900's that these things started to be challenged, or were brought before the Supreme Court. By that time, society had changed and shifted, so the court's holdings followed that shifting morality. By virtue of the shifting morality, they had to hold for the point of view on the establishment clause that would justify this.
I read a book not long ago called The Godless Constitution, written from the liberal point of view. And yet, even they did not deny that in early America there was an ideological split on the meaning of separation of church and state, and that in early America it swung the way, more or less, of what we would call today the "social Conservatives". This is a fact, and even they could not deny it.
So all this to say, stop spewing uneducated liberal myths. Even if you don't agree with people that hold to my view on the establishment clause, at least admit that we are not just trying to neuter the Constitution. Thanks, that's all.