Democracy and Religion, still battling Church VS State
Why we need separation of church and state
For more than 200 years all sides of the political spectrum have debated issues of religion and moral conduct in a democratic society. The far right are now pushing for more control based on their strong religious views. Often they mention the story of the Pilgrims insisting that our nation was founded by European Protestant Christians. Liberals focus on the original settlements being formed by merchants and royals. They farmed, and fur traded. They logged the virgin forest of the Native Americans and gained financial power from each sale of wood and skins. They put the enslaved and indentured to work for them to increase their wealth and status back in Europe.
From an accurate historical perspective democracy means clearly sovereignty of the people. Thus, the ultimate power is in the hands of the majority by direct election or representation. This system was designed to block religious dictators from gaining absolute power in America. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, The church builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus as to shock reasonable thinkers.
Separating church and state was put into place for a very good reason. Our founding father's came from a world of enforcement and persecution. They lived in a world where religious leaders dominated personal life. They lived under those who ruled by the sword, limited education, and denied the public access to scientific knowlege. No man wanted the Pope to become too powerful in the American Colonies nor have an absolute King. Fear of Catholism gave way to discrimination against Catholics and the Irish. Yes, we were designed to prevent dictators from reaching power. That is why we much remain a country where church and state are legally separated.
We were given a gift. We have been given the gift of choice by God and by our forefathers. The system they designed protects us. It was not intended to stop the belief in God. Instead we are able to explore free thinking. Free thought is what opens doors to new possibilities and the possibility to hope and dream. On that ability for exploration the doors should never be shut. They should let us continue to explore with open doors and open minds and remain free forever. By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, historical fiction writer and author