Church and state separation, sort of

The judge in the Israeli courtroom made quite a point about how his government does not integrate religion into government affairs.

Our Group Study Exchange delegations — our West Texas team and our Rotary partners from The Netherlands — all noticed the same thing, however, as the judge made his point in his Be’er Sheva courtroom.

It was the presence of the menorrah engraved in the wall behind him. The menorrah, of course, is the enduring symbol of Hannukah, one of Judaism’s most revered religious holidays.

I couldn’t help but think what might happen in a Texas Panhandle courtroom if a judge engraved a carving of Jesus being crucified. Given that our Constitution speaks directly against such a practice, a judge shouldn’t be so brazen.

It apparently isn’t so obvious for an Israeli judge to speak so directly about the secular nature of his government while sitting under such a recognized symbol of his own religion.