Belief in the separation of church and state has turned out to be situational, depending on what issue you want the government to highlight or ignore — abortion rights or aid to the poor, criminal justice reform or same-sex marriage — and which faith you favor.
This is a time of year that challenges that not-so-bright line, no matter what side you fall on, when the occasional (or non) worshipper nevertheless is drawn by devotion, guilt or nostalgia to traditions that otherwise are pushed aside.
And the lessons of the season for those of any or no faith can be worthwhile.
This is also the week that marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, a victim of the gun violence that is a continuing part of the national conversation. King had traveled there to support sanitation workers striking for a living wage and safe working conditions, marching with signs that stated a demand too few were willing to grant: “I Am A Man.”
In an echo, teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma to Arizona stand with parents and students today to make their own case for economic justice.