Should religion be separate from state?
Side Score: 54
Side Score: 33
Absolutely. Thomas Jefferson put it quite succinctly:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
What doesn't the other side get? Thomas Jefferson said it and meant it.
1871 days ago | Side: Yes
I agree, while I think that religion should play a central role in everyone's life (whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc) it should not be intertwined with state issues. America was founded as a free society where people can worship however they choose to do so, thus it would be impossible to mix church and state together and serve the will of the people.
1869 days ago | Side: Yes
The separation of church and state is important in any political system, not just the United States. Not only does having a state religion inherently limit freedom, it also has adverse effects on the religion itself. Take the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. Corruption became rampant within the Church as real political power became increasingly centered on the the Church itself rather than the various kingdoms throughout Europe. Church officials were appointed by kings and religion was used as just one more tool to maintain the status quo. There's more than one reason to call this period the dark ages; even if it technically wasn't a dark age.
On the other hand I'd like to see someone present a heartfelt and reasonable argument for why religion shouldn't be separate form the state.
1868 days ago | Side: Yes
I think that government should not shun or endorse any specific religion. Largely, this idea of separation was to avoid the problems that arose between Catholics and Protestants in the UK. Atheists have issue with reference to God and such because it shows support of a religious viewpoint, which can make them feel like second class citizens (as mentioned by someone else earlier).
That said, it's impossible for government officials to not act upon those values they hold dear from their chosen religions. And, citizens will continue to vote for those with similar values to their own (even if mistakenly supporting candidates for their religion of choice, though their values may conflict).
1853 days ago | Side: Yes
I believe that religion has no place in politics. It only serves to build a wall between the American people. People use religion to serve their own purposes. Running America on one religions values goes against what our country was built on. If Obama truly believed in Islam he would have been shot down before he started his campaign for the Democratic nomination. Face it, the only religion in America at this time that has any chance of being numero uno is Christianity.
Our government should focus on actual political issues. They already have trouble enough with the simple things, adding one more angle of debate would be devastating.
1848 days ago | Side: Yes
Religion is a person's personal choice. If you want to be a Christian, you are because thats what you believe. If you are a Jew, you are because thats what you believe. It's the same for any other religion.
Does anyone else have any right to make laws based on the belief of a specific group, leaving out the rest? Or do they even have the right (or the ability) to control what you believe? No.
1842 days ago | Side: Yes
Having church and state intertwined defeats the purpose of the constitution. While I will agree that Religion has a role in an individuals life, when implemented across the country, it creates a "second class status" for those who are not religious or has a different religious belief than the masses. Furthermore, religion is NOT a fact, its a theory. There is no proof that a god exists. Thus, using religion as an argument for anything (abortion, death penalty, policy construction, etc.) holds no water in an equality based society.
1871 days ago | Side: Yes
Yes, religion absolutely should always be separated from state. Not everyone share's the same beliefs and even if they did none of these beliefs are provable or even testable, so why on earth would we ever put our trust in them politically? We should use reason, logic, humanism and rationality, not superstitious beliefs to guide our countries. It seems to me that some of the highest quality countries in the world are also some of the least religious countries in the world, and the most war-torn poverty-stricken nations are the most religious. As the United State's evangelical activity is increasing, is it possible that the country's position as number one world superpower is coming to an end, and is religion perhaps playing some part in this?
1853 days ago | Side: Yes
The Declaration of Independence, which is the reason this country was founded, says we all have equal rights b/c of our Creator.
BTW, this country has always been tightly tied to religion, that can't be argued. Only recently has that coupling been loosened, and we see the end of superpower status, so your argument is a good one against the humanist position. Nice use of reason.
1851 days ago | Side: No
Dear lord, the second part of your argument is just too painfully stupid to go undisputed, and yet it's dripping with the level of smarminess that only comes from someone who is 100% sure they're right. I cannot allow this to continue.
Tell me, have you ever heard the phrase "correlation does not imply causation"? Here, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
985 days ago | Side: yes
I'll argue for this side, too. Well, I won't argue, but I'll show you how some on the other side do argue for their god's involvement in government. Check out the video in the link for a word for word recitation of just what Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis has to say about god in her state.
Illinois State Rep. Monique Davis (friendlyatheist.com)
1871 days ago | Side: No
From Erin Roneree:
No, I do not believe in the separation of church and state as it is currently defined in the American culture, though I do support the separation as it was envisioned by our Founding Fathers. According to a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, and contrary to the popular belief of today, the state should be kept out of the church, NOT the church out of the state. This phrase has been distorted from its original intentions. Also contrary to popular belief, note that this statement is not found in the constitution. The reference (1) states: “Although most people believe the words "separation of church and state" are actually in the U.S. Constitution, the words cannot be found there. Rather, they are words penned by Thomas Jefferson in a letter which explains the First Amendment of the Constitution or at least Jefferson’s view of it. The actual words in the First Amendment of the Constitution read as follows: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .’ ”
The USA was founded on Christian principles. In the rarely quoted first sentence of the Declaration of Independence (reference 2) our forefathers made direct reference to God as the Creator of all men – “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” The Declaration also more famously states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The founding fathers believed that the existence of a Creator God was so evident that it was not even necessary to qualify their statement! Under the modern definition of “separation of church and state”, this document would never have seen the light of day, the drafters would have been accused of being religious fanatics, and people like Blammo would be calling for them to be fired.
Most of the founders were, in fact, Christians (references 3,4,5) – Also, as you will see from reading my attached reference 6,
“ 1) Emblazoned over the Speaker of the House in the US Capitol are the words "In God We Trust;" 2) The Supreme Court building built in the 1930's has carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments, 3) The liberty bell has a Bible verse engraved on it.” (More are listed in my reference 6).”
So why then did our founding fathers feel the need to talk about separation of church and state? The pilgrims were forced to leave Europe due to religious oppression from the state and “state church” and they did not want to experience the same thing in their new nation. I like the way my reference 6 puts it: “The pilgrims were ultimately forced to leave Europe and flee to the land we now know as America because of persecution and oppression. This persecution and oppression was a result of the Church of England, the Anglican Church, becoming the state church. It was an unholy alliance giving more power to both the church and the state to control the people. The Anglican Church was a denominational church that persecuted religious nonconformists like the Puritans that just wanted to believe in the Bible and worship accordingly. As such they were not really a denomination. They were more of a doctrinal religion. In this case the denominational religion was the evil and the doctrinal religious group was the victim.”
For the sake of my argument, let’s define the words doctrinal and denominational, as I understand them from this paragraph. Doctrinal means to be concerned with the teachings of a particular faith (e.g. Christians are doctrinally concerned with the Bible). Denomination is a particular sect of a particular faith (e.g. Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian Christians have different teachings about the Bible).
Continuing on from the same reference: “Our framers feared a state denominational church based upon European history. The constitutional restrictions were targeted at our government to prevent it from making a denominational religion the state church. We actually embraced the Christian Theism doctrinal religion as the state religion. Now we are rejecting any expression or symbol of our doctrinal religion, which our framers embraced. We are treating the doctrinal religion of our heritage like a virus that must be expunged from the public square. We also have inverted the original intent of the "Separation of Church and State" metaphor6.”
Lastly, know that yes I am a Christian. I believe with all my heart that I am a sinner and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. But I have only been a Christian for six years, so was not raised with this worldview. When I was 21 years old I came to faith in Jesus Christ and have been studying the Bible and topics like these ever since. Prior to coming to faith in Christ, I held many of the views of those that are debating against me. I highly recommend reading the references that I have noted below. They provide much insight to this topic. See also reference 7, which provides an interesting perspective on mixing church and state that I did not specifically write about in my argument (mainly because I am so tired and can’t focus anymore!)
1860 days ago | Side: No
Yes, they should be separate as Jefferson wrote, in that government should not make any laws respecting religion. However, its now taken to mean, anything or anyone in public arena cannot talk about religion, which is nonsense. There's no argument there. The reason this country was founded (the Declaration of Independence) makes it clear, God has given us certain rights. If not for that, there's no basis for equality. In fact, as Darwinisn would state, there IS no equality, and some are better than others.
To argue any public official cannot speak about religion is to ignore the history of this country. Read the Presidents' inaugural speeches, even Jefferson's :
"And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity."
How funny there are some who sue to remove religious things from public, they would have to remove the Founding Fathers! Including their hero, Jefferson!
1859 days ago | Side: No
With all due respect, what a president believes in and what state policy is, is quite different. If a president turned Muslim, does that mean the whole of the state must suddenly turn Muslim? I think that while a leader's religion will affect how they approach problems, they should not force their opinions though the state and onto the people. Each individual should have the right to be able to appeal to a state with no predetermined religious prejudices.
In relation to Darwinism, yes, there is no equality. Nature has determined some individuals innately superior to others in that particular environment. That is also how society thinks, that if someone is superior, in talent or motivation or skill, we should recognise and reward this excellence.
PS, in "To argue any public official cannot speak about religion is to ignore the history of this country", by the same token arguing against Darwinism is ignoring the entirety of your biochemical evolution.
1850 days ago | Side: Yes
I'm not talking about a Christian nation. I'm talking about separation only pertaining to laws being established. But that's not how its used today is it? Hence, lawsuits against anything from the bible displayed in any public arena, and using separation of church and state as the reason. That's the nonsense, b/c you'd have to sue the founding fathers. So I guess I'm not sure what you're really opposing, unless you agree that no bible references should be displayed in public?
1850 days ago | Side: Yes
Darwinism is not based on the competition between the same species. Thus I believe you are a wee bit misinformed. Being the same species we are all equal. We are the same, just because you can be darker or shorter it does not change the fact that we are the same mentally and anatomically. Humans have the same traits as one another so acting like one person's rights as a human can be rebuked as an effect of Darwinism is well, acting like the church, and not what Darwin proposed in his theory of natural selection.
Plus, our constitution, not the Bible, states that every (human) man is created equal.
1848 days ago | Side: Yes