Do people understand the actual meaning of separation of church and state?

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  1. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 8 years ago

    Do people understand the actual meaning of separation of church and state?

    Do you find many don't understand that separation of church and state protects both religious institutions and the citizens? I've seen so many that irrationally fear their churches will be forced to marry same sex couples for example, when that is not going to happen.  Do you find many who are upset about the Supreme Court ruling have misunderstandings about it, the government and how our system actually works?  Separation of Church and State has protections that go both ways and I think many don't realize that.

  2. profile image0
    TheBizWhizposted 8 years ago

    I can honestly say that just talking to people in general since SCOTUS' decision, I haven't heard one person express the fear their church will be forced to marry same sex couples. Maybe that is how it seems on the internet, but grandiose headlines are what sells these days (you know how I always say the squeaky wheel gets the grease).

    All in all, I think within 5 years, churches will be marrying same sex couples, anyway.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Sadly I am in many discussion groups and even a couple of my close friends who are otherwise intelligent people fear the govt. will make their Baptist minister marry same sex couples.  That's what made me wonder how many people don't know the system?

    2. profile image0
      TheBizWhizposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I do imagine there are some people who wonder. I have heard this issue brought up on the news, but as far as falling under "water cooler talk" I can say I haven't heard any concerns expressed. That is saying a lot since I am from the Bible Belt.

  3. dashingscorpio profile image82
    dashingscorpioposted 8 years ago

    Unfortunately there are a vocal minority of folks that feel (their rights) are being attacked whenever they're told it's illegal to discriminate against other people. It's always been that way.
    The example of a bakery who refuses to make a wedding cake that will be used in a gay/lesbian ceremony is often sited as an attack of Christian beliefs. There may be a landlord who doesn't want to rent an apartment to a gay couple and the list goes on and on.
    Fifty years ago these would have been the same people who resented the government for forcing school integration and serving black people in restaurants, hotels, other places.
    One of the goals of the government is to eliminate discrimination based upon age, race, gender, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.
    Anyone who can prove they were discriminated against based upon the aforementioned has the right to seek legal recourse.
    That is not new!
    As for "same sex marriage" it's not mandatory! Therefore anyone can marry whomever they fall in love with regardless of gender.
    My life or marriage didn't change on June 26th.
    Separation of Church and State means the "church" does not make the laws for the state and the state does not force it's citizens to follow a specific religious doctrine. The law of the land supersedes various religious beliefs. Also one church can't overrule another church.
    It was 1967 (less than 50 years ago) when the Supreme Court struck down all state laws that forbid "interracial marriage". I imagine the children of today will look back in 50 years and wonder what all the uproar was about concerning "marriage equality". Gays and lesbians make up less than 5% of the population.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I completely agree.  It's puzzling to me how many seem to not understand these concepts and that they cannot impose their faith on law, but law cannot force them to change their faith.

    2. tsmog profile image83
      tsmogposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The 5% is powerful information, even though the media portrays an illusion being far greater. The Williams Institute at UCLA Law specializing in LGBT places it at 3.5% of US Population (2011). Noteworthy certainly while not a majority.

  4. tsmog profile image83
    tsmogposted 8 years ago

    No, I really do not think most understand the meaning of the 'separation of church and state'. For instance it is not in the constitution. It came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson.

    The first amendment states ""Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In other words our government cannot by law decree a national religion especially of that government nor can it disallow a religion. I realize that is an over simplification especially since that amendment is tested almost daily in the court systems. 

    Marriage is a contract firstly civilly. That is why there is a license. That gives permission to marry and usually has an expiration date. The marriage must be solemnized as a ceremony. In California that can be done by a county clerk.

    Different states have different requirements and rules. For instance in California there are two types of licenses - Public & Confidential. They are different. It is best to check info for a marriage license by state.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Licenses do differ by state, but every state issues licenses and marriage can be wholly without religion. This is why people being up in arms about the ruling makes no sense to me, it's always been that way.

  5. lisavollrath profile image86
    lisavollrathposted 8 years ago

    Over the past few days, what I've read seems to indicate that people believe the separation of church and state means the government should stay out of their religious beliefs---but not that religious beliefs should stay out of government. It appears that many people think this is a door that only swings one way.

    I live in Texas, where the governor has stated that county clerks don't have to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples if it violates their religious beliefs. A better statement would have been to tell them that if they don't feel they can reconcile their religious beliefs with the job the taxpayers expect them to do, they should resign, because the county clerk's office is a branch of government, and not a church. County clerks must adhere to the law of the land.

    However, if that same county clerk attends a church that doesn't accept marriage equality, that church is perfectly within their rights to turn down any couple who wishes to marry there, for religious reasons. The government has no say about this, and never has had any.

    That's the difference between church and state.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly this! I can't believe people think they can use religious beliefs to not do their job, get another job then. The people who think the govt. can force their churches to perform same sex marriages is a sad testament to lack of education imo.

    2. fpherj48 profile image61
      fpherj48posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Lisa...You are absolutely correct. It only makes simple sense! If U work for the GOVERNMENT, U must follow laws of the Gov't. Ur religious beliefs/bigotry won't fly there!  Churches, temples,mosques & clergy/Relig Org can refuse.  That's it!

  6. Ericdierker profile image47
    Ericdierkerposted 8 years ago

    In my home we honor both the ecclesiastical and the civil notion of a marriage. Heck we got married twice, once in a civil ceremony with a County Clerk to form a civil contract and once with all the pomp and circumstances of religiosity. Both were great celebrations of our union. Hey around here we separate Church and State and then we combine them into our lifestyle. Citizenship and reverence are both found in our home. We both pay taxes and "tithe". We pay our bills and we pay respect. We do not want our government telling us where to worship and we do not want our church telling us who to vote for.
    We earn a living by serving a master. We do what the master wants or we find a different way to make a living. We live by serving our Master. And that Master insists we render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's.
    I am glad that the government saw fit to allow us to contract into a civil union even though we are mixed race, and our grandparents could not have done that.
    The state is recognizing same sex marriage contracts, good for them that is the state's business. It just so happens, and thank goodness they were not told to by the state, so does my church.
    Separation of Church and State is alive and well in America and people get it, they just ignore it when it comes to not so sober debate.

    1. profile image0
      TheBizWhizposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Great comment

    2. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Great points. I was floored when someone I know believed that ruling would allow the govt. to force their church to do same sex marriages.  No way! and I'd be first to defend a church should that ever happen. It won't of course. Separation both ways.

  7. MizBejabbers profile image89
    MizBejabbersposted 8 years ago

    No, many people don’t understand the separation of church and state. In fact, the line is so blurred now, that I’m not sure that we have that separation anymore. It is not just the subject of gay marriage, but abortion and contraception and other women’s rights that suffer under a religious state. The issue of health care, for instance. Certain institutions seem to have no problem with providing invitro fertilization procedures for barren women, but they don’t want to provide contraception that might save someone’s life, or prevent the very abortion they are against. They don’t make sense, but they go to court to have the “right” to force their beliefs on those who disagree with them.
    Take the abortion issue in our state, Please. Their religious beliefs don’t include abortion, so they think they should be able to, and do, force those beliefs legislatively on people who don’t share them. They also tried to do that with gay marriage. It ping-ponged from judge to judge and was still hanging in limbo until the Supreme Court’s decision.
    I was very glad to see that decision, because our state’s Attorney General was elected on the promise that she was a “Republican, gun totin’ Christian woman” and would fight for those beliefs and ideals. She doesn’t seem to realize that the Attorney General is supposed to impartially uphold the law, even if it doesn’t agree with her personal beliefs, and neither did the citizens who elected her.  Twenty-five or thirty years ago, an AG had to defend creation science, although he didn’t believe in it himself. The times have changed, and we are going to have to fight to get our rights back from the fundamentalists nuts who are now occupying our government.
    Speaking of “squeaky wheels” these very same ones squeal that the court is making law when its interpretation of the law goes against their beliefs.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I completely agree with every point you stated - and I'm glad it seems we are at least making some progress. The TX clinics are not being shut down and the same sex marriage legalization.  baby steps, but steps.

  8. fpherj48 profile image61
    fpherj48posted 8 years ago

    I certainly believe that I understand the true meaning of separation between church and State.  I'm also fairly sure that MOST people either do not or they simply refuse to accept it's existence and importance.

    I don't take the time nor aggravation to get into a heated discussion.  It's never worth it.  When individuals are stubborn and stuck in stupid, arguing is a waste of time.  After all, the FACTS are in black & white and leave no room for debate.

    As for the big concern now that churches & the religious feel they will be FORCED to engage in activities that are strictly against their belief system....this can easily be kept to a bare minimum.   Refusing to perform a marriage ceremony using their right to freedom of religion should be respected.  WHY on earth would any LGBT couple want to force anyone to do this?   Just move on and find a church or clergy or someone who will gladly marry them.  The same with making cakes or hosting wedding receptions.

    Not every business owner will have a problem with any of this.  In time, just like anything else. all this hoopla and false concern will die down and stop being an issue.

    1. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Totally. I know of no one who would wish to be married in a hostile environment. Like you I think it will all die down.  I was just a little shocked that there are people out there that believe the govt. can compel churches to comply.

  9. Evane profile image61
    Evaneposted 8 years ago

    Most people do not understand such idea. That is because there is a very thin line between the two. And sometimes, the state can encroach to some religious activities and vice versa. So it's pretty hard to separate church and state. But essentially, they should be separate because church is by and for God while state is only for men.


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