Friday, March 17, 2006

The Framers and the Faithful

As all of the discussion about angels in public parks rolls along here in the Oshkosh blogosphere, I post this interesting article from the Washington Monthly about evangelicals and separation of church and state in the 18th century.

History has reared its head, as it often does, in these debates as we argue over original intents. This article speaks to that--ending with an interesting moment when Republicans in the Virginian house recently tried to amend their state consititution to remove Jefferson's language separating church and state.

"The Framers and the Faithful" by Steven Waldman


jody said...

I have not yet read the article you have linked to. I will.

I have to thank you for your calm intelligence and ability to reason. It is hard for me to exaggerate my level of surprise at both the trivialization and acceptance this angel has received on the "green" blogs. While not a green myself I have continually been assured that the Green agenda is quite globally oriented. It being in fact an international party I do not mean just that it cuts across national boundaries but that it takes the broadest, most pluralistic view possible on each issue.

In this case the Greens are responding personally, "this is okay" or "is a non-issue for me".
People who have opposed Indian logos, Coca-Cola's intrusions in India and the RA Bible-study are fine with the angel.
No Coke
No RA Bibles
No Indian mascots
Yes Angels

In each of those instances a minority group felt offended. I see no difference. The value systems displayed now seem arbitrary and based on personal comfort - not global sensitivity.

You say words to the effect "don't back down". Well I don't know who you've got in town there who can do this Atticus Finch act, but it's going to be a tough row to hoe.

tony palmeri said...


Could you explain how the angel statue issue is like the Indian mascot? In the latter, the majority culture exploits and often distorts minority culture symbols for purposes defined by the majority culture. That's not what is happening in the angel statue situation.

Forgive me for not yet attaining your level of clarity on this matter. The question of whether the angel is an exclusively Christian symbol (or even a religious symbol at all given the popular culture appropriation of it) is one that is still open to me. To ponder that question does not make me guilty of trivialization and acceptance, or display a value system that is "arbitrary" and based on "personal comfort."