By Sally Steenland (editor)
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Extra resources for Debating the Divine, Religion in 21st Century American Democracy
Decisions to contract out or use vouchers for private programs must be subjected to ongoing review individually and taken together in light of the larger public goals of strengthening equality, mutual respect, and a sense of community across lines of difference. The second set of policies where religions and the public square meet is public funding for private schools. Public funding must not reach any school that excludes students on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity—and must ensure comparable opportunities for boys and girls, children with disabilities, and English-language learners.
It is almost as if people in France were to become alarmed that their government might ban the French language or prohibit drinking wine. It is not going to happen. And (virtually) no one suggests that it should. 1 just how pervasive religion is in the Lest we miss the forest for the trees, we should remind ourselves just how pervasive public square in the United States. religion is in the public square in the United States. Radio and TV airwaves (and cable channels too) are filled with preachers and their religious messages.
If all of these manifestations of religion in the public square are well-protected and largely uncontroversial, we again come back to the question: Why do many people, including Patel, speak as if we actually should be concerned about the possibility of religious voices being “excluded”? ” Although I do not think that Patel himself is trying to confuse the issue, he first adopts and then deploys the language that comes straight from the mischief-makers. This is how the game is played: Some people who realize that Americans largely think that “religion in the public square” is a good thing but who also know that “government promotion of religion” is controversial (and arguably unconstitutional), have decided to use the misleading euphemism “religion in the public square” when what they are really talking about is governmental promotion of their preferred religious symbols, language, and beliefs.
Debating the Divine, Religion in 21st Century American Democracy by Sally Steenland (editor)