Most of the discussion about religion and politics in America ignores the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which instructs that the state should recognize no particular faith as the church of the state. Instead, the discussion revolves around Thomas Jefferson's private concept of the "separation of church and state," which is usually interpreted in the widest berth imaginable: Let no one speak a religious word in public, especially in association with politics, lest church-state separation be violated.
In the August Ladies' Home Journal, editor Diane Salvatore advanced that very belief in a question to Sen. John Kerry: "There's been a lot of discussion about the fact that President Bush has been one of the most vocal presidents in terms of his faith. Do you find the president's discussion of his faith as part of his decision-making process inappropriate?"
Kerry, a Roman Catholic, could have answered something on the order of, "Ina -- what? " but instead chose the worst response imaginable. "I will say I personally would not choose -- though I'm a person of faith -- to insert it as much as this president does. I think it crosses a line, and it sort of squeezes the diversity that the presidency is supposed to embrace. It creates a discomfort level. You have to balance it, and be very thoughtful about it."
The Kerry shorthand: I'm a Catholic, I'm a legislator, but by God I'm not a Catholic legislator.
Leftists like Kerry traditionally have demanded a wall between the state and religion but now are taking it further still. They are publicly condemning a religious institution -- specifically, Sen. Kerry's Catholic Church -- for upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the sanctity of human life. Recently 48 Catholic members of Congress signed a letter to Theodore Cardinal McCarrick declaring that "We firmly believe that it would be wrong for a bishop to deny the sacrament of holy communion to an individual on the basis of his voting record ... We do not believe it is our role to legislate the teachings of the Catholic Church. For any of us to be singled out by any bishop by the refusal of communion (because of a pro-choice position) is deeply hurtful."