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Lets turn the question about good or bad religious involvement on its head: Is it good or bad theology to get involved in politics?

It probably depends whether religions pursue principles or tribal interests. The Golden Rule can determine the difference in most cases.

For example, when Christians demand school prayer, they must ask themselves if they would be comfortable with the school prayer: "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet."

If they can honestly answer that question affirmatively then their support for school prayer is consistent with the Golden Rule. Otherwise, as Christians we should probably reconsider that particular demand.

It's pretty difficult to imagine a scenario where support for civil rights or abolition violates the Golden Rule. Likewise, both sides of the abortion issue can be justfied in principled terms.

Too many times, however, the label "Christian" is merely maskerading demands of tribal domination. In that sense, some religious involvement in politics really does threaten non-establishment. The problem is not that Christians get involved in politics. When we use politics to create conditions that privilege our own religion then we violate the establishment clause.

That difference demarcates proper and improper political activities of religious organizations in principled terms. That does not necessarily mean that this demarcation should be enforced. But it means that one can distinguish between political activities of religious organizations without being a hack.

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