Those on both sides of this issue seem to be in a stalemate. Each can selectively introduce historical evidence to support or refute the positions of the other. And while the courts may declare winners, I fear that the evangelical movement has been led astray by allowing itself to be distracted from a simple, glaring truth.
They already support secularism under a different name.
Advocates for secular government are simply asking for fairness in the law. This is not a particularly controversial point of view. Consider our notion of justice, for example. We believe that all people should be equal before the law (we even have the 14th amendment to help protect that belief.) We believe that justice, or the equal application of law, should be blind.
Great controversies arise when some of us feel that Lady Justice peaks from beneath her blindfold and treats one person differently before the law than another. If we feel we are being treated unfairly – or judged disproportionately – in relationship to others, our Golden Rule alert system kicks in. This is an old friction point, worn thin by a long history of perceived contrast in treatment under the law in relation to wealth, race or religion.
Someone who advocates for secular government is simply asking for this same fairness in the creation of law that we already hold dear in both the interpretation (courts) and enforcement (police) of the law.
If we are ever to fully realize that ideal which we have personified into marble statues, we all must accept that – when it comes to the governmental institutions that create law – race, wealth or religion should be checked at the door.