Separation of Church and State?
Separation of Church and State is a hot topic currently, but to me, the trend seems to focus on things like the Pledge of Allegiance or the Ten Commandments in public buildings, yet religious state laws, like alcohol on Sundays, for instance, are rarely mentioned or changed. It seems the politics of separation are a diversion from the actual meaning of the concept. Are Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms really more unconstitutional than "blue" laws?
It's an interesting discussion. Separation of church and state was originally meant to protect the church from the state, not the state from the church. Oddly enough, now you see the opposite happening. Churches are loosing their 501C3 nonprofit status if they step out of line and begin talking about things like politics and other socially unacceptable topics.
Odd how the perception of hx has changed over the years. Churches should lose their free status. they are no more than business today that rake in huge profits, pay no taxes, and expect representation in D.C.
I agree with you. I don't think they should remain exempt. If you read the Bible, one of the main jobs of the church is supposed to be social services. The church is supposed to help the poor and benefit society. Paying taxes benefits society.
Think of the tax revenue windfall if Churches were considered businesses; I wonder if that is a goal of the politics?
Taxes benefiting society is subjective. Many if us believe most of those tax dollars funding social entitlements are wasteful & ineffective, and better addressed by private charity not subjected to inefficient gov't bureaucracy as they once were.
That may be true, but it clearly says in the Bible that the church should respect the government. "Give to everyone what you owe them. If you owe taxes, pay taxes..." Romans 13:7
A little out of context. Actually that statement was Jesus essentially mocking the Romans when asked about the face of Ceasar on a coin as a way to bait him. In fact he was accused of a crime for not paying taxes at his trial before being crucified.
I'm a little confused. This isn't the passage where Jesus said to "Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's." It's from Paul. In either case, I do respect what you're saying, with churches not wanting their taxes to support abortion and similar programs.
Ben, while the First Amendment was indeed intended to protect churches from the State, the other, equally important intention was to prevent any religion from dominating the government and enforcing religious mandates.
This is a topic thoroughly misunderstood. The premise behind this was not to discourage religious faith, but in a sense to encourage it. The founders were largely Protestants and has been the subjects of religious persecution. As Christian people they modeled the constitution based on Judeo-Christian values laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Many aspects of the structure of our Gov't and the underlying moral code are rooted in Christian values and the influence of Christianity. For example, Madison who was a chief architect of the Constitution conceived of the principals of the three branches of Gov't from the bible, specifically in the book of Isaiah.
What the founders understood was that if the state endorsed a specific religious faith, such as the Catholic Church, which was at odds with the Protestant followers, it would restrict the ability to pursue religious freedom. This in effect was a way to encourage religious following. So in effect they wished to have a secular gov't based on Christian principals, but not a secular society. But they were not in anyway discouraging societies pursuit of religious faith, or the moral code behind religious faith. Quite the opposite. In fact, back in 1812 Madison signed a Federal bill which gave economic aid to the Bible society to distribute the bible throughout the city of Philadelphia, once the nations capital. There are countless examples of the founders encouraging religious faith in legislative action. They just didn't not want one to be mandated to a specific faith such as the Church of England, under who's rule they broke away. There is a big difference between not mandating something and actually discouraging it.
This is often misconstrued to mean that the founders were somehow anti religion, or felt that faith had no role in the creation of our governing documents. That is simply not true. It was simply a means to provide religious freedom, which was a core issue of the nations founding. In doing so, we are free to pursue no religious affiliation if we wish. But that does not mean it is fair to assume that the founding principals were anti-Christian as they are often portrayed. Nor was the intent to prevent schools from displaying the nativity scene. These are just ways in which the secular segments of society have attempted to attack people of faith as to portray the founding principals as anti-religion. When in fact there was no such intent.
I have always thought that the purpose of the founding fathers was to allow people to have freedom of choice in their religion, the idea that they were anti-religion is a new one on me.
They weren't, but these ridiculous lawsuit against things like nativity scene's are an attempt to portray the constitution as not having originated in Christian values, or that a gov't entity can't encourage faith in a general sense.
This is exactly what I mean, it seems people want to nitpick harmless things like nativity scenes; yet burning the flag is a protected freedom of expression? It seems that grabbing attention in some new way is the goal of many people.
Well, I agree with you there. Some people are simply in pursuit of a cause, and are willing to manufacture one even when there isn't one. A cousin of mine is a true hardcore atheist. He finds the nativity scene about as offensive as a lawn chair.
Landmark, some of the founders were Christians, but some of them were Deists or nominal Christians at best. Some of these most influential men were products of the Enlightenment, the period which emphasized natural reasoning over religious books.
The words "Separation of Church and State" do not appear in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Here is the appropriate clause from the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Much attention is paid to the first part and little or none to the second (the opposite of the "progressive" interpretation of the Second Amendment). The so-called establishment clause has been used recently to virtually eliminate religious activities from public life, even to the point of absurdity. Despicable groups such as the "Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF)" have brought nuisance suits wreaking havoc on anyone who dares to speak of God in public (not to mention the equally noxious, and misnamed ACLU). Recently the FFRF protested a Holocaust Memorial because it had a Star of David! Sometimes this stuff is laughable but it is quite serious and people of faith (and people who just believe in freedom) need to stand up and say "Enough!"
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