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21
22
No Yes
Debate Score:43
Arguments:37
Total Votes:52
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 No (16)
 
 Yes (17)

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Astac(242) pic



Is the phrase "separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution"

There is no such Phrase in the U.S. Constitution,  but you have those who are affraid of or who hate the Christians who will swear on a bible that this phrase is in the Constitution 

No

Side Score: 21
VS.

Yes

Side Score: 22
1 point

That phrase has never been in the Constitution. Where it comes from is a letter from Jefferson to a religious group showing them how the federal government via the First Amendment will not have a national religion like the church of England

Side: No
1 point

There are plenty of things left out of the US Constitution. We adhere to several values merely out of tradition/culture.

Even if it were written in the US Constitution, it could be amended or repealed all together. The founding fathers weren't idiots. They knew that nothing remains static.

Side: No
Astac(242) Disputed
2 points

It is not that they were left out, they were left to the people and the states.

I was intended to hit the clarify button, not the dispute

Side: No
Astac(242) Clarified
2 points

It is not that they were left out, it is that they were left to the people and the states. The Constitution was and is a limitation on the federal government. The Constitution enumerates 18 powers the states and the people gave to the federal government. If it is not Enumerated as a power for the feds, that power belongs to the people and the states

Side: No
flewk(1203) Clarified
1 point

Separation of church and state is not exactly a government power.

In terms of federal vs state, much of that is also based on practice and tradition. The US Constitution is designed to be ambiguous. No one expected explicit powers written in the 18th century to remain relevant and practical in the 21st century. The federal government has grown quite a bit over the last few hundred years.

Side: No
1 point

The phrase is not in the Constitution, but it can be found in other documents from the founding era and much more importantly it has been rather thoroughly incorporated into common law through the judiciary.

Side: No
Astac(242) Clarified
1 point

It has not been thoroughly incorporated into common law through the Judiciary. For starters the Judiciary cannot Amend or change the meaning of the Constitution, nor can they legislate from the bench

Side: No
Jace(4530) Disputed
0 points

Whether the judiciary has the conceptual Constitutional authority to alter the meaning of the Constitution is irrelevant to a discussion of what they have in actuality done. Moreover, the rulings which have effectively established the separation of church and state in common law have been made generally well within the Constitutional provisions of judicial authority. The judiciary has not amended the Constitution to add the phrase separation of church and state. What is has done is held numerous laws to be in violation of the First Amendment establishment clause which was passed by the executive and legislative branches pursuant to Constitutional provision.

Side: Yes

The establishment clause regarding Religion is visible but no direct separation of Church and State is mentioned.

Side: No
1 point

Yes, as part of the first amendment.

Side: Yes
Astac(242) Disputed
2 points

That phrase is no where in the U.S. Constitution

So here is the 1st Amendment and clearly that phrase is not there

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Side: No
2 points

Of course the phrase is not in there, but the concept is, and the courts have ruled so for over a hundred years.

Side: Yes
Atrag(5208) Disputed
1 point

A law that allows prayers in schools is clearly favouring Christianity over others. It is promoting the establishment of the Christian religion.

The ruling of Supreme Court in Everson v. Board of Education (1947) also supports this interpretation interpretation:

"establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion."

Or Thomas Jeffersons interpretation:

"make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. "*

Side: Yes
1 point

The separation of church and state is hardly the first unwritten concept that is protected by the constitution. In the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court established a women’s constitutional right to have an abortion despite the word abortion never appearing in the constitution. In the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges the Supreme Court established that laws against same sex marriage were unconstitutional despite the word marriage never appearing in the constitution. In the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright the Supreme Court established that the constitution guarantees the right to an attorney despite the words public defender never appearing in the constitution. In the 2010 case of McDonald v. Chicago the Supreme Court established that the second amendment right to bear arms included the right to bear arms for self-defense despite the words self-defense never appearing in the constitution.

It should also be noted that of the 112 Supreme Court Justices, none of them has been an atheist. In fact 92 pecent of them were Christian. What rationale would these justices have for making laws that would create a legal prejudice towards their system of beliefs, especially if the separation of Church and State is a misinterpretation?

The reality is that the constitution was never meant to be a stagnant document that was rigidly adherent to the words on the page. As Thomas Jefferson said “The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.” Over the past 200 years the Supreme Court has shaped the constitution to contain a clear separation of church and state that protects every religion equally. If only those who argue against this separation could see how they benefit from it instead of inappropriately interpreting it as an attack on Christianity.

Side: Yes
0 points

James Madison wrote: "The purpose of the separation of church and state is to keep, forever from these shores, the ceaseless strife that has soaked the sands of Europe in blood for centuries."

I can think of no better source to speak for what the Constitution infers. We can look at a current example of what NON-separation results in....IRAN. Other good examples are England around the time he wrote that, and the thousands who left there for America to get away from religious persecution. The church had TOO MUCH control over the government and taxes there AND in France....just to point out that it is not only a Muslim thing.

Side: Yes