In the waning days of spring, we expect grilled foods, outdoor concerts and … fights over prayer at public-school graduations.
Over at Religion Dispatches, Duquesne University law professor Bruce Ledewitz says it’s time to reconsider the implications of the ban on such prayers.
Ledewitz, a church-state expert who supports government neutrality toward religion, says non-believers should be willing to compromise, “understanding that the yearning for transcendent meaning is not confined to religious believers.”
The substitution of moments of silence for prayer suggests that there’s no communal expression of meaning possible in American life, which is tantamount to the promotion of a kind of radical individualism. We are supposed to be a political community. Community requires some kind of creed — though not of course necessarily a religious creed. Silence is no substitute for communal expression, but some devotees of separation seem to feel that any communal expression of meaning is too close to religion to be permitted to the government.
There’s probably more on this theme in Ledewitz’s new book out this month, “Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism.”