In these examples, and countless others, the school administration tells students that they can't freely exercise or express their religion because to do so would be tantamount to the school endorsing the religion. But if that's true, then it's also true that the federal and state governments are endorsing the content of this column by "permitting" me the freedom to express myself in writing.
You can see how absurd that is and how an overzealous commitment to "separating church and state" often defeats the very ideal of religious freedom it purports to uphold. The students, in these cases, were denied their freedom of religion in the name of promoting religious freedom.
But while the secularists demand a strict separation in certain cases where to do so, as we see, harms the freedom it is designed to protect, in other cases they fail to invoke the principle at all.
If separating church and state were truly their goal, they would surely object more strongly to a court's direct interference in the private business of a specific church -- on a matter no less important than its membership -- than to the state?s tenuous, indirect endorsement of a religion as in the school examples.
When the California court forced the Lutheran church to reinstate its members, it violated the hallowed separation principle in the worst way and eviscerated the free exercise rights of the church. When push came to shove -- in the face of a direct assault on a church by an intermeddling court -- the fair-weather secularists turned their backs on the separation principle.
They are not driven by an allegiance to the goal of separating government and religion, but a manifest hostility toward Christian religion, the Christian church and the free exercise rights of Christians, especially in the public square.