Re: “The clarity of separating church and state” (Feb. 25, page 8)

In response to The clarity of separating church and state, published February, 24, 2010.

I appreciate Alex Garcia taking the time to read and respond to my article (“The ambiguity of separating church and state,” Feb. 11, page 8), and for offering his insights.  I would like to clarify a couple of points I made that evidently were misinterpreted.

I never questioned the need for separation between church and state. To the contrary, I affirmed more than once that separation is a good thing.  It is important for both realms to remain distinct. But just what does ‘distinct’ mean?

There is no established definition of the term. If you ask five people around campus what they think it means, you’ll likely get three or four different responses. That was what I tried to highlight when I called separation, ‘ambiguous’ – it’s meaning is unclear. For such an important principle, there is a disconcerting lack of uniformity.

Furthermore, I never intended to imply that this issue is any less important due to the fact that it is less prevalent in ‘Western’ societies. Separation is necessary and important in all countries, and we should be concerned wherever the two are fused.

My intention in writing my piece was to initiate a conversation about what separation means, and where society should draw the line. To that end, I believe I have succeeded.

– Josh Bernier

Published in Volume 64, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 4, 2010)