Sunday, February 26, 2006

Other Lessons

BushCo.'s adventure in Iraq has presented the US with many lessons to be learned; many of which are military, many are diplomatic. Many will be reviewed in military "after action reports." Some others will be reviewed by the striped pants set in State. Others however will not be so obvious; there are no formal mechanisms for learning societal lessons from disasters such as Iraq. We can only hope that they will be learned.

One lesson in particular has to do with the role of religion in society.

So many people in the US think that more religion in the public sphere could only do our society good. As wrong as they may be in reality, they think that their particular set of rules would do us all good. In the abstract, and not tied to any particular sect, they could well be right. The problem, as always, is in the execution. Or, to use a more apt metaphor, the devil is in the details.

Those in the religious right in this country are notoriously unable to see beyond their next church gathering, but I can only hope that the sectarian violence in Iraq becomes an object lesson in the value of the separation of church and state. The disaster, the brewing civil war in Iraq is the future of our country should some sect or another be able to impose its will on the whole of America through the courts or the legislature.

We have to hope that lessons learned are spread far and wide through our country. Not only that it's impossible to spread democracy at the point of a sword, but that it's impossible to have a democracy at the foot of a cross or at the point of a crescent.

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