Separating Church and State Does Not Entail Separating Religion and Politics

The dubious reasoning of this “secularist syllogism” rests on a fallacy of equivocation, in which “religion and politics” is wrongly made identical with “church and state.” Church and state are authoritative institutions, while religion and politics are activities pursued by individuals, groups, and organic communities. To disestablish a politically authoritative church is to strike a blow for the freedom of all religious believers to act on their beliefs, politically as well as privately. But insisting on the separation of religious discourse from political discourse, isolating the former from the latter by “privatizing” it, moves in exactly the opposite direction, and creates the contradiction found at the center of many modern tyrannies: affirming a mythical freedom by denying the real thing.

source: Matthew Franck, "Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage" http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/05/religion-reason-and-same-sex-marriage tags: Politics, Freedom