There is a Maginot Line mentality among evangelicals that shows up in many particulars. While we valiantly hold the line on some item, the panzer divisions of evil sweep right around our defenses and conquer the rear. One of these areas is federal aid to higher education.

As a youth I was thoroughly indoctrinated in the orthodox position on separation of church and state. I could also recite the evils of “Romanism” and the evidence for political machination. Much of the evidence was stale, though, and certainly it did not take into account the ways in which American Catholicism is now adapting to the American scene and to the democratic or pluralistic way of life.

What the orthodox Protestant position on separation of church and state, no matter how noble its theory, really seemed to mean, as I now look back upon it, was, “Don’t let the Catholics get anything.” Therefore our strategy and our activity were aroused wherever we could smell a possibility of tax support for any Catholic project—we were automatically against it. Our efforts were not necessarily wrong; but while we were trying to hold that bastion, the real and much greater enemy swept around us and conquered.

To put it baldly: While we were saving ourselves from the Catholics we sold out to secularism! We kept the Catholics from getting tax dollars and at the same time allowed those dollars to be used to subsidize irreligion, atheism, godlessness, humanism, naturalism, mechanism, and other idolatrous anti-Christian creeds. One reason why this happened was that in the heyday of liberalism, evangelicals, under the banner of evangelism, became anti-intellectual. The result of anti-intellectualism was the naïve assumption that secularized education was merely a neutral ...

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