Church Over State: A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Matthew Spalding /

For decades now the secular Left has constantly pressed at every opportunity to keep any semblance of religion away from anything that is somehow connected to government.  There must be a complete and unbridgeable separation of Church and State, they always say, a misreading (and misuse) of a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801.  That wall “must be high and impregnable,” the Supreme Court ruled in 1947. “We could not approve the slightest breach.”

As a result, we can’t have prayers in public schools, at football games or graduations, and the secularists are hard bent to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.  They have sued to remove “In God We Trust” from our currency, and to prevent prayer at presidential inaugurals.

Yet, every once in a while, something comes along that makes obvious the absurdity of the Left’s absolutist position and reveals the centrality of faith to our humanity, personal relationships and civic life.

Witness the photograph, taken in the Arghanab Valley of Afghanistan, which appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal of June 9.

In the picture Staff Sergeant Edward Rosa, a non-commissioned officer of the United States Army, in uniform, and acting in his official capacity in a war zone, is administering over Private First-Class Jorge Obando, an enlisted soldier presumably under his authority.  Both have taken an oath of uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.  And yet—brace yourself—the Sergeant is reading the Bible to the Private, who has been wounded.  (And to make it all the better, he is also helping him smoke a cigarette.)

So there you have it, a picture-perfect example of the proper understanding of the separation of church and state.