Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Church, state will never separate

Church, state will never separate

(My Clovis News Journal column for February 3, 2012, with a paragraph, which I had removed for the newspaper's consumption, reinstated.)

Much is made of the separation of Church and State, but the truth is that while Church and State sometimes temporarily separate, on the insistence of those who get caught in the middle, they will never divorce. They were made for each another.

Church is possibly a little older than her partner, but she hides her age well by getting a face-lift every few years. State just matures and gets more efficient, sly, and paranoid as he ages.

Church and State grew up together. Theirs was a tumultuous childhood; both were very cruel as children. Church enjoyed torturing, even killing and burning, animals and people, while State focused his attention on people. Both have encouraged people to fight one another on their behalf. Both Church and State have always insisted on being supported by their neighbors, claiming that this was so they could protect the people from unseen, or exaggerated, threats. Except for some rather horrible tantrums, both have gotten better at hiding their natures from casual observers as they've gotten older, and even today most people will come to their defense.

No one knows when Church and State first married; it seemed as if they had always been a couple. They slap each other around a lot, and do a lot of shouting and cussing at one another- because it isn't a peaceful marriage, but it is a convenient arrangement that neither wants to end.

Church and State will each occasionally do something good for society, in order to encourage people to say how essential they are. Each partner has their supporters, and some people actually support both. A very small minority support neither, and throughout history this demographic hasn't usually fared well at the hands of the couple's fans. Yet, neither Church nor State has been very loyal to their ardent supporters.

No one objected to the marriage for many years, until a few people decided Church and State would be less harmful- to each other or to innocent bystanders- if they could be kept apart. This separation is opposed by those who want the couple to stay together in order to use them against specific enemies. Only the naive believe that this pair will ever be limited to bullying bad guys.

So, a while back there was a more concerted effort to split up the couple, and a separation- at least on paper- finally happened. However, it was only for appearances. The couple may live in different apartments but they are still "friends with benefits" and only give lip service to the separation when it seems useful. Most people try really hard to pretend they don't see the nudging and winking in public. But, knock on one partner's door and the other will usually be sitting on the couch, perfectly at home, in the background.

The truth remains that while you may believe the couple is separated, they are still married and will never divorce. There's just no real reason to. They are too comfortable with the status quo and gain too much from the marriage. 'Til Death do They Part.