A Time to Compromise

Faith may be a virtue, but there may be times when it has to bend

Ashlyn Jones / Getty Images

Arkansas has long wrestled with the separation of church and state. Until 1981, state law required public schools to teach creationism alongside evolutionary theory.

Clashes over religion in the public square are as old as the Republic. (There was a battle during the ratification of the Constitution over rewriting the preamble to include an assertion of the nation's fealty to Jesus.) That the fight is familiar, however, does not make it any less dispiriting.

The current religious-rhetorical storm began when Rick Santorum said that President Obama adheres to "some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology." Then a 2008 speech resurfaced in which Santorum talked about Satan's designs on the U.S. In the run-up to the Michigan primary, Mitt...

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