Sinners, Saints and Hawaii Government

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

On Thursday, inside of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, there were many messages about love, God, redemption and righteousness delivered in both speech and song.

"May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life," said the Most Reverend Larry Silva, the Bishop of Honolulu.

"Amen," responded the congregants, who included about a dozen legislators including the former and current speakers of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

"Come, bow down and worship, kneel to the one who made us," sang Keoki Kerr, a television news reporter who performed Psalm 95 in his fine tenor. "This is our God and our shepherd, we are the flock led with care."

Meanwhile, on the outside of the cathedral, very different messages were delivered, though ones arguably as righteous.

"Respect the First Amendment," read a sign carried by a protester on the Fort Street Mall. "Stop Clergy Sex Abuse" and "Women's Rights Over Bishops' Wrongs" read others.

Together, the demonstrations both inside the cathedral and outside represented the ongoing battle between church and state, between those who believe the two should forever be separate and those who argue they are eternally intertwined.

It's a battle taking place right here in Honolulu. The relationship between religion and politics has a long history in Hawaii, one that shows no sign of ending.

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