More dancing in the dark
The strategy is simple: Never take the case to the American people--use unelected judges and the bullying threat of litigation to force unwanted change. And focus on even dubious marginal issues to create the impression that any religious reference in public is toxic. Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago sees a massive form of liberal intolerance in this antireligious campaign, which she refers to as "the squeezing of the last breath of life out of anything that presents itself as religious in any public way."
The battle behind the "under God" issue pits true pluralists against intolerant secularists who are willing to accept religion, but only if it is defanged and totally privatized. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago pointed out how odd it is to claim a respect for religion while simultaneously insisting that people keep it to themselves. Stephen Carter of Yale memorably referred to this belief as "God as a hobby" --many secular thinkers have no problem with religion as long as it is as marginal and private as woodworking or bird-watching. But if religious people act on their beliefs, you begin to hear that somehow believers are "forcing" something on somebody else. Such phrases have popped up in the presidential campaign, along with the religion-is-private theme song: "Religion is something between an individual and his God." Actually, it isn't. Most religions demand that believers exert themselves to shape a better society, not just sit and worship in some corner. The opponents of religion have made great headway in convincing Americans that it should not enter the public arena. But the struggle will continue. It is far from over.