Both James, at Outside The Beltway and Mark at GOP Bloggers, note the ongoing discussion between among others George will and Chris Hitchens, James Taranto and so on.

As usual, this discussion starts coming down very quickly, to legality, and church and state separation issues.

I submit this entire discussion is mis- cast.

If we understand (as I have argued for years) that the purpose of government is to codify and enforce the values of the culture that gave it life, and also to hopefully extend the influence of that culture within the world… then the influence of religious values in our government will be a product of the degree to which religion is a part of the culture itself. This is not mandating religion; it is simply reacting to,a nd holding respect for the culture, as government should; this is the proper relationship.

This is not, therefore, a matter of church and state (And the mythical separation thereof) as much as it is a discussion about the culture, and the influence of religion in it, which is another matter altogether.

Consider the words of John McCandlish Phillips, a former reporter at the NYT:

The fact is that our founders did not give us a nation frightened by the apparition of the Deity lurking about in our most central places. On Sept. 25, 1789, the text of what was later adopted as the First Amendment was passed by both houses of Congress, and subsequently sent to the states for ratification. On that same day , the gentlemen in the House who had acted to give us that invaluable text took another action: They passed a resolution asking President George Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving to no less a perceived eminence than almighty God.

That’s president , that’s national, that’s official and, alas, my doubting hearties, it’s God… all wrapped up in a federal action by those who knew what they meant by the non-establishment clause and saw their request as standing at not the slightest variance from it.

While other religions (Or for that matter, atheists, which I will include as a faith unto itself) are accepted by both law and the tradition of western culture, they are never more than a minority influence in our culture. And that seems to be to be the most troubling to Hitches of the world and to the Randians as well.

The fact is, that the Republicans did not win because they’re part of the Religious ANYTHING. In fact, to become overtly religious, and religiously driven in their governmental activity, will be the death knell of the Republican party… or ANY party so consumed and so deployed… (and properly so!) Rather, they have been winning of late because they are aware of and are respectful of the culture that gave the government life… and the people… the voters… are responding to this.

They each understand and respect, as the founders did… the relationship between government and the culture. The majority of Americans… the largest part of the culture…. which, not suprisingly, is made up of Christians and cultural conservatives… see the Republicans as being the better reflector of their cultural values.  Thus, the current Republican majority. It’s really that simple.

And, so the Democrats have managed to work themselves into a proverbial corner; Every one of their big electoral issues is wrapped around radical cultural changes… changes which run directly afoul of the culture.  Until either the Democrats change their tack, or the culture itself changes, the Democrats will continue to lose.

And cultures are not known to change quickly under any kind of stimuli.


Dale Franks chimes in here, as well.