.- The Founding Fathers of the United States were right is setting up a limited government, yet these checks and balances were set up “to limit the power of the state over purely religious affairs,” said Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando. Separation of church was state “was meant to keep the state from dictating to the church,” the bishop explained. “It did not mean that government must be insulated from religious values, or the separation of faith from society.”
The bishop published his comment, dated July 3, in the Sentinel for Independence Day and said Americans should be grateful for their freedom of religion, guaranteed by the Constitution's First Amendment.
“While often described as a secular nation, the United States could be more correctly described as an interfaith nation,” he stated. “Its founding principles acknowledge the presence of a supreme being from whom certain inalienable rights are received. The Declaration of Independence is based on the worldview that God exists. Hence, one could argue that the existence of God is a first principle of our form of government. God is the one who endowed us with those rights.”
The bishop noted that the Church embraced the principle of secularity at the Second Vatican Council as the legitimate “distinction between the political community and religions." The Pope, he said, reaffirmed this point in meeting with Italy's president last month.
However, this accepted definition of secularity has become much more radical, the bishop noted, pushing faith right out of public life and policy. This, he said, is contrary to the intentions of the Founding Fathers.
“Our courts, however, as seen in the recent Supreme Court's ruling on the public display of the Ten Commandments, have abandoned the secularity of our founders, and uncritically embraced an ideology of radical secularism, whose roots lie in the French Revolution,” he wrote.
“Our founders saw religion not as a rival of the state, but a partner,” he wrote. “Today the champions of a secularist worldview tell us that religion is a private matter.
“Such a privatized religion would no longer be the ‘Faith of our Fathers,’ he concluded.