If there is, then whatever the flaw is, it has done a remarkable job of self-concealment for more than two hundred years. In modern America, there is no evidence that it has any intention of revealing itself. That is because the evidence suggests that it does not exist. In a poll of one thousand Americans in the spring of 2013, 65% of Republican voters said that they believed that America had gone too far in maintaining the separation of church and state.
But when asked a different question, only 46% of them would favour introducing Christianity as the official religion of the United States. Indeed, overall, 60% of Americans are opposed to the idea of a Constitutional amendment making Christianity the official religion of their country. In America, if Christianity can’t get the vote out, nothing can. Yet, this is a surprising finding when viewed against Gallup’s evidence that 92% of Americans believe in God.
Something subtle is going on in this Mighty Conglomerate. Are Americans content to continue arguing over the meaning of the Establishment clause because the debate itself symbolises their conceptions of the true meaning of liberty and equality and underpins the idea that notions of liberty can only ever be a journey but never a destination – because there is no end to it? Is it a continuation of Jefferson’s idea that all men are created equal except his slaves but at least we can aspire over time to something better? And we are still aspiring? Are Americans content to watch the great debates in the Supreme Court even when the outcomes are not what they hoped for? Is Engel v Vitale still on solid ground? Will Roe v Wade persist? Is the game more important than the result? Some you win, some you lose?
These processes are alive and fascinating – and not just to Americans. Millions outside of this remarkable Conglomerate are watching with great interest. Humanity needs a stable America. In the United Kingdom, we believe that we understand this.