Kiffmeyer to discuss the ‘myth’ of separation of church and state in Nov. 10 talk

Minnesota Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer will discuss “The Separation of Church and State: Debunking the Myth” in a 7:15 p.m. talk Monday, Nov. 10, in Thornton Auditorium of Murphy Hall on the Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The talk, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Catholic Women at Work and by the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought at the university’s Center for Catholic Studies.

Mary Kiffmeyer
Secretary of State

The public also is welcome to a dinner with Kiffmeyer that will be held at 6 p.m. that day, also on the university’s Minneapolis campus. Cost of the dinner is $20 and the first-come, first-served reservations can be made by calling (651) 962-5705.

In her talk, Kiffmeyer will discuss how the term, “separation of church and state,” has become so ingrained in people’s minds, and how that term applies to the phrase: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“When people are elected, they come to office as a whole person,” she explained. “They might be a parent, or a community advocate, a business person, and they might be a person of faith.

“Unless we want to exclude a whole category of people from public service, we have to expect that people of faith will run for office and will be elected. Moreover, we have to expect that people of faith will use their religious principles to guide them in their private lives as well as their public service.

“This does not mean they will quote Scripture,” she continued, “but it does mean that they will hold true to their values. I believe all Americans have the right to act in accordance with their deepest convictions, within the boundaries of the law and the common good.”

Kiffmeyer was elected Minnesota’s 20th secretary of state in 1998, and was re-elected in 2002. She oversaw the nation’s first Web-based, election-night reporting system, and is president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

For more information about the talk, call St. Thomas at (651) 962-5705.