Separation of Church, State and Twitter

Read the full story here (CNN).  The issue is over Rep John Shimkus (R- IL) posting Bible verses daily on his Twitter account.  Political activist Barry Lynn claims that Shimkus tweeting Bible verses is a violation of separation of church and state.  My argument is that the only people reading the verses are the 3,000 or so followers who subscribe to receive the tweets.  There is no violation here.  Hundreds of comments took the same or similar positions, including those of atheists, agnostics, and those simply identifying themselves as non-Christian.

The establishment clause states that Congress shall make no law establishing a religion.  Sending personal tweets is not a legislative procedure.  Shimkus is also granted the first amendment right to express himself and exercise his religious beliefs freely.  Again, he is not quoting the Bible on the floor of Congress but in tweets read by his followers.  Does anyone care to weigh in, or is this matter too cut and dried to debate?

Religion and Politics

Remember the 2000 Presidential election? The final results of that election day took weeks to become clear because the American public was so nearly evenly split between Democratic and Republican voters. Each vote in Congress is split nearly even because the Congressional leaders we select are nearly evenly divided, and very few are willing to “cross the aisle” in favor of the other party’s legislation. The word in politics these days is polarized. There is rarely middle ground that the majority of people can agree on.

This is the exact same thing I’ve been describing in the debate between theists and atheists. Atheists are no longer content to just not believe in God, but have launched attacks against faith itself. It’s like a war is being fought between people of faith and what now amounts to the enemies of the faithful. Becky Garrison suggests that we once all just played in our own sandbox, but the “New Atheists” want to throw sand in the face of believers.

It seems on almost every issue, everyone takes one extreme position or the other. There is no such thing as common ground anymore. We want hard lines on right or wrong, with zero tolerance for shades of gray. Life is not that simple. Sometimes there are no good guys or bad guys, there’s just guys. Historically, a few people on any issue took an extreme position, and the vast majority fell somewhere in between them. A bell curve suggests the probability of this phenomenon. I don’t know exactly when this changed, but the bell has been hammered out flat, more like a coin with 2 sides and no middle.