Opinion: "Religion is Alive and Well in the Public Square"

January 18, 2006

Source: The Dallas Morning News


On January 18, 2006 The Dallas Morning News ran an opinion piece by Madan Goyal, chairman of the Plano National Day of Prayer Committee and a member of Thanks-Giving Square and the Texas Faith Network. "Too often lost in the debate over separation of church and state is the reality that religion thrives in our nation. In fact, the American people are among the most religious in the world. Because of this, church-state separation is among our most cherished legal protections. My family is free, for example, to practice our Hindu faith without interference from the government of a majority Christian nation. Similarly, Christians, Muslims, Jews and all other people of faith may freely choose how they wish to practice their religions. What none may do is use the government to support one faith tradition above others. This is a good thing... Some European governments still provide funding and other official support for religion. Yet surveys show that interest in faith has fallen dramatically in many of those countries. In contrast, nearly half of Americans attend religious services regularly, and 95 percent of us express belief in God. The lesson here is important: Governments that stay out of religious affairs create environments in which houses of worship thrive through the contributions and devotion of their congregations, not through government support."