This early declaration — along with the First Amendment, which Thomas Jefferson solemnly revered “as building a wall of separation between church and state” — illustrates the unprecedented experiment our founders sought to test: a secular republic ruled by democratic laws, not sectarian faith; a nation whose government based its authority upon “we, the people” and not commandments handed down by distant gods. It is a brilliant endowment, given that in a pluralistic democracy such as ours, with people of many faiths and no faiths at all, we purposefully govern ourselves via secular legislation, not religious decrees.
But today, this bold pillar of American democracy is rotting fast. It is under attack by theocrats, especially those who sit on our Supreme Court. Their recent ruling making it nearly illegal for a woman to get an abortion in Texas is the latest terrifying case in point.
The problem is not religion, or even Catholicism. After all, many of our leaders, such as President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, are themselves Roman Catholics, and they all affirm reproductive choice as a constitutional right. In fact, 56% of Catholics in the United States support this right.
A;ll of this in support of the insistence that legislatures, those engines of democracy, must not be allowed to pass laws about abortion.