The “true remedy” of James Madison, the one that sought for an amiable relationship between religion and government, has recently been nearly demolished. That problem Os Guinness, in The Case for Civility, calls “the broken settlement.” A fascinating chp, one that again walks hand in hand at times with our own theological wars.
Three factors now create a hefty challenge to us when it comes to relating religion and government in a civil manner:
1. Exploding pluralism: across the map, USA and the world is not what it once was and the USA itself has seen dramatic shifts. Liberals, Guinness contends, speak too “airily” and conservatives confused pluralism with relativism.
2. Expanding statism: “the enormous expansion of the state in relation to the church” (68).
3. Emerging separationism. Here Guinness expounds Jefferson’s wall as one of accommodation and nuanced and carefully balanced; today’s public outcry is neither nuanced nor balanced and therefore there is little accommodation. Instead, the wall has been raised and thickened. This development is dramatic and it has consequences for religious liberty.