But—fifth—short of such cases, the state should respect, honor, and even foster the role of religious communities and institutions as essential contributors to civil society. In crucial respects they are expressions of something still more basic to the flourishing of the human personality than is the political order itself.
The modern secular state errs in viewing religious communities as subordinate—whether as handmaidens of government, rivals for people’s allegiance, or as mere interest groups in elections and public policy debates. Subordination of the religious to the political tends to sever, in the minds of policymakers and judges, the link between individuals and the various expressions of religious community that enrich their understanding of the truth, animate their peaceful encounters with their fellow citizens who have different understandings, and inform the reasonable basis of our objective moral order.
- Dr. Matthew J. Franck, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Radford University