Debate Info

Debate Score:43
Total Votes:52
More Stats

Argument Ratio

side graph
 the separation of church and state. (28)

Debate Creator

tonicole(854) pic

the separation of church and state.

Add New Argument
4 points

The separation of church and state is a religious and political doctrine derived from the first amendment of the United States Constitution. The establishment of America was greatly motivated by the desire to worship freely without involvement from the government.

Religion is between the person and their God. That person is not accountable to any other person for their beliefs. The right of the government can only influence actions, not beliefs.

Religion is interpreted differently by everyone, scholars and everyday practitioners alike. For any one person - yourself, or government to claim to know God's will is completely arrogant. I mean whose moral and religious principals shall we use to govern this nation? Shall we use that of a Catholic, or a Baptist? Maybe a Mormon or a Lutheran? How about Pentecostal or Wesleyan? We could really go out on a limb and use the moral and religious principals of Islam or Buddhism. And each of these will also be subject to interpretation of those moral and religious principals which might be a completely different interpretation than mine or his.

Of course the government is influenced by the religious beliefs of those we elect. It becomes a problem when those beliefs step on the beliefs of others. That is another purpose of the doctrine - to provide an absolute - that we are one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for ALL.

-History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. -(Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983)

Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

Also keep in mind that a person's beliefs will influence their actions as well, and in a democracy such as that of the united states, we are allowed to vote on what actions we think should be taken about a certain issue. what we believe will influence our actions, which will influence the actions that the government takes.

Side: like apples and oranges
2 points

Of course there's a separation of church and state. The state cannot impose it's will on a church. It is constitutionally protected against this. So the state is also protected against the will of the church.

It is one thing for a church member to vote his conscience. Few would question that. But it is an entirely different matter for a church to tell their members how to vote. That is the IRS code regarding tax-exempt status.

If you, as a church, want to tell your people how to vote, fine. No law against it. But pay the taxes on your income, and your property, like everyone else. Can't have it both ways. If you want to stop being a church, for instance, and start becoming wing of particular party, go right ahead. Knock yourself out. But the IRS rules are quite specific about this. Proceed at your own peril.

In my own little Episcopal church here in Tucson, even though we're a mostly liberal congregation, there is a spectrum from quite liberal to quite conservative in the pews. You can feel the resentment whenever a political view is expressed from the pulpit - whether we share that political view or not. No one wants to be told how to vote. It's stupid to even try.

Look at the situation with gay marriage in California and the Mormon church. One side paid taxes as a lobbying group, the other didn't. That's inherently unfair, and that's what the IRS regulations are there to enforce. That church has a question to face. Was it more important to have a tax-exempt status, or act as a lobbyist in a political choice. Make the choice and live with it. If you loose tax exempt status, so be it. But don't whine when it happens.

Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

i honestly do not think that the separation of church and state exists. people practice what they preach in their everyday life, and it seems impossible to me that a person could have an opinion on one thing without the reasoning behind their opinion being formed on what they do believe.

take the topic of abortion. some people are for it, while others are against it. some people who are against it say that they are because they believe that life exist at the moment the child is concieved and that people aren't supposed to kill. that is a catholic belief. this is just one example of the many opinions that people place their religious beliefs on.

if there is such thing as the separation of church and state, does that mean that people who have a religion have to have two opinions on one subject ?

there's no way that there can be such a separation.

Side: like apples and oranges
jessald(1915) Disputed
3 points

"if there is such thing as the separation of church and state, does that mean that people who have a religion have to have two opinions on one subject ?"

Sort of. You have your own personal beliefs; but when it comes to making laws that affect everybody, you have to work from universal principles that we can all agree on.

"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion specific values. ...It requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. Now I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons to take one example; but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I can't simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will; I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."

-Barack Obama

Obama on Religion
Side: like apples and oranges
iamdavidh(4856) Disputed
2 points

There is a way to have separation.

By minding your own business.

Why does every religious person feel they are somehow obligated to make everyone follow their beliefs? Okay, if you're Catholic you don't believe in abortion, so you don't get an abortion. Don't worry about what someone else is doing. Same thing with gay marriage. If I'm a dude, and I'm against gay marriage, guess what, I shouldn't marry another dude.

This is why I hate religion. It turns otherwise intelligent and normal people, into these indoctrinated mindless zombies who cannot even wrap their heads around the idea of separating religion from the laws of the land.


Side: religion sucks
1 point

We have too many morality police out there imposing their belief system on people whether they like it or not. If we wanted to live in a country where we wanted to be told what we have to believe in we could rename our country china or become a part of the middle east. This is America and in it we are supposed to have freedom of or from religion.

Side: like apples and oranges
Kolab(11) Disputed
1 point

"Okay, if you're Catholic you don't believe in abortion, so you don't get an abortion."

Imagine you are telling someone that you don't like it when they commit murder. They say to you "Okay, If you don't like it, don't murder people." Are you going to let them keep murdering people?

That's what Christians hear when you say that.

Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

i think the separation of church and state doesn't really make sense, considering we are all entitled to our opinion, meaning it shouldn't matter if we make decisions based on our faith or not.

Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

Church and State should not be separate. Christianity is still America's biggest religion, and until another religion becomes bigger here, Christianity should have a large part in making laws.

Side: Influence of majority religion
1 point

I am disputing the "apples and oranges" tag, and since there's 8 of them, I'm adding my own arguement.

There is no reason not to compare apples and oranges, watch:

Apples are red, oranges are orange. You don't have to peel an apple, but you can if you want. They're both round.

See, there's nothing wrong with comparing apples and oranges, so everyone please stop saying "apples to oranges."


Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

Lets please not force our religious beliefs on eachother. We should share with eachother of things we have learned and we can either take as fact or not. But please! No more self righteous vigilantes.

Side: like apples and oranges
1 point

Separation of Church and State was mentioned between a private letter from Tomas Jefferson to a group of people who wanted a state inforced Church. The First Ammendment states that a State government or the Federal government can not have an inforced religion. This does not say that people can bring their beliefs to the table of making laws.

Side: like apples and oranges
-1 points

necessary, but i think the Secular moment has gone far beyond just wanting to end Theocracy, they're trying to end any public forms of religion.

fuckers, if the US Troops want to erect a Crucifix in their memory in a public square, please stop the bullshit of "separation of church and state, i don't want to have to see this christianity being shoved down my throat."

hell, the Founding Fathers were very open about their religion. George Washington even said it would be impossible to have a country without religious influence. and you know that whole "so help me God" thing that Seculars want to ban actually came from George Washington.

i think there are just things that don't matter, and are actually necessary. reminds us of what this country is about.

Side: What our Founding Fathers wanted
chg9389(111) Disputed
1 point

OK. Then I don't want to hear one single word from you when Pagans, Jews, Muslims, or anyone else wants to erect anything in that same square. It is public property supported with the same taxes you pay.

Might want to check your facts on the religious beliefs of the founders. You'll be pretty shocked to learn what they actually said about religion. The "So help me God" stuff is from the 1950's. If Washington brought that up, it was as a Zombie my friend.

Guess what? The televangelists you're listening to? They lie. Great example of a good Christian.

So, by the way. Since you are such a devout Christian, what ARE the 10 commandments? Don't look. Just tell me off the top of your head. Where are they in the Christian Bible? Do you know? How many versions are there? What version do you insist we post in the public square? And, if you can't answer these questions, tell me this: why is it so important to you that they be posted on public property, when you take so little time to know them and abide by them yourself? At least in my church, Christianity starts with me living the life, not me imposing it on anyone else.

Side: What our Founding Fathers wanted
ThePyg(6737) Disputed
1 point

1. learn history please. what you might be referring to is "One Nation under God", that came from the 50s. but George Washington was the first to say "So Help Me God", and that is why it became a custom.

2. I don't listen to televangelists... wtf is your problem?

3. So, you have a problem with USA Troops putting up a crucifix as a memorial for those who died fighting for their country? see, that's the problem I have with the Secular movement.

4. I'm not a Christian... why make such an idiotic assumption? What, so now anyone who is against extreme secularism is now a Christian... wow.

5. off the top of my head:

I am the one true God and you shall have no God before me.

Don't kill

Don't steal

No adultery.

Don't covet your neighbor's wife

Don't bear false witness

Don't take the lord's name in vain

and some other shit.

7. I'm not imposing shit. Hell, maybe i just don't care if a police station has the 10 commandments outside their station... big fuckin' deal.

Side: What our Founding Fathers wanted