Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Separation of Church and State?

Our founding fathers opposed the institutionalization of religion into government, and purposely kept the Constitution itself free of references to God. The first priority of the amendments in the Bill of Rights was to erect a church-state wall. When Benjamin Franklin proposed during the Constitutional Convention that each day begin with a prayer to God for guidance, his suggestion was defeated.

Since our nation's founding, opponents of America's secularism have repeatedly sought to breach the wall of separation between religion and government. It was not until the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, with it's fear of communism and the atheism that it espoused, that politicians in Washington practically fell over each other in their efforts to prove their piety. It was in 1954 that the phrase "under God," was added to the Pledge of Allegiance, thus making it a public prayer as well as a patriotic oath. (Ironically, it has been the addition of those words that has resulted in the banishment of the pledge from public schools.) In 1955 Congress added the words "In God We Trust" to all paper money. In 1956 "E Pluribus Unum" was replaced with "In God We Trust" as the nation's official motto.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled as unconstitutional efforts to inject religion into government, yet we are told almost daily how the founding fathers wanted this to be a Christian nation. We are told repeatedly that we must have religion in order to have values. People's rights are routinely denied with recitation of Old Testament value judgements. Non-Christian religions are demonized with distortions and untruths about those faiths. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars practically became holy wars with all of the religious justifications that were regularly cited.

Our founding fathers would be vehemently opposed to current efforts to put Christianity into our government. If people really cared about the values that this nation was founded on, they would stop using religion as a qualification for seeking public office, and they would oppose the demonizing of those who choose to respect the Establishment clause (church/state separation) of the first amendment of the Bill of Rights of our nation's Constitution.

Additionally, I believe that government itself should have a blind eye when it comes to religious matters. Laws should apply equally to both religious and non-religious organizations, assets, incomes, etc. To do otherwise is to give religion special status, and invites corruption of religious institutions as well as of government.

1 comment:

Keith Wilson said...

See also http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/3/29/1374145/-I-am-a-Christian-business-owner-in-Indiana