Over in the UiF forum, there is a raging debate regarding the separation of church and state, along with a bunch of personal flaming. The question, though, deserves better consideration than that. Let's give it a shot, here. Established: The U.S. Constitution prohibits an "official" religion of the country. Established: This is a good thing. Established: This prohibition has been extended to prohibit religious expressions in any kind of official setting. There are approximately 280 million people living in the United States. As of 1989 (ibid.), the religious breakdown of the country is roughly as follows: Protestant 56% Roman Catholic 28% Jewish 2% other 4% none 10% Now, treating each category equally, let's look at how or, more specifically, where, decisions regarding displays of religious observances are made: the courtroom. There are 862 statutorily-established federal judgeships, with 60 current vacancies. There are 9 Supreme Court Justices. I don't count state judges because, quite frankly, any decision they make regarding the issue of separation of church and state will be bumped to the federal or Supreme courts. In essence, this means that approximately 811 individuals are responsible for ruling on an issue that affects 280 million people. This is absurd. Granted, the courts are necessary to clarify and rule on the finer points of law. I submit to you, however, that the issue of separation of church and state is not, in fact, a legal issue, but rather a social one. In many small communities that are religiously homogeneous, the communities themselves are perfectly capable of deciding whether or not to say a prayer before a high school ball game, or display a crche or menorah or Star of David or whatever on the town square. In large communities and metropolitan areas, there should be public dialog, discussion of the issues, compromise and understanding. Let each voice be heard, equally. Let each faith be represented, each in its turn, including the "faith" of no faith. Let the citizens face the issue head-on and come to some sort of compromise, if not understanding. And, in those gray areas in between, where the voice of the minority may feel squelched, let there be courts to enforce the rights of everyone to be heard. But let those courts be the last resort, not the first. Let every voice, every tenet, every faith, every belief, every moral code make itself known, make itself open to all. I think we would all be somewhat surprised at the commonalities, enough so that the differences will become moot except perhaps to some academic theologians. But let the line be drawn by 280 million individuals, not by several hundred judges. Let's not surrender our right to exercise control over our lives by giving that right to the courts.