Separation of CHURCH and STATE: What It Does Not Mean

When we insist, as I have done on this blog, that the Church and State remain separate, no one should jump to the conclusion that that means there is no place in the national life for those who live by their faith-systems. Quite the contrary. To be have freedom of conscience means to exercise that freedom for the good of your neighbors and the well being of your nation and to make this contribution from the convictions which come from the depths of who you are.

I simply want to post one example of someone doing this that was sent to me by one of my beloved sons. This young man, twenty-five, is a deeply religious individual who opens his heart, as it were, for us to see something of an intense struggle. He is not of my faith-tradition. But I find myself understanding exactly his struggle, and I think you will too.

Joshua Casteel is a thoughtful all-American young man. After being a football star and his high school valedictorian, Casteel went on to West Point Military Academy. As a soldier, he was sent to serve at Abu Ghraib. Working side by side with private contractors who made six figures Casteel began to question the role of private contractors in a war zone: “… over the course of my stay in Iraq it was just day after day after day, grappling with going to mass and taking, you know, the body and blood of Christ into my mouth and then going back to the interrogation room and interrogating five breadwinners who had been taken from a single home and wondering what their family was doing for food while I was eating food prepared by private contractors…”

To see the video of his twenty minute testimony go HERE