Saturday, February 24, 2007

Church and State Issues...

So, I've been pondering the whole "separation of church and state" debates today. Simply because I followed the link from Atheist Revolution and I signed the First Freedom First petition then I sent out an email to some friends and family thinking they would also be in favor of the petition. (Yea, I probably should have known better) However, one of the recipients responded to me claiming the following:

1) There is nothing in the constitution that says there is a separation of church and state
2) It only states that the government cannot make one church the "Church of America"
3) that it was "Drummed up by communists" to cause trouble
4) that Every President from Washington to Bush has put his hand on the bible to take the oath
5) We do believe the bible is our only authority

Here was my reply.....

In Reply to Item #1 and #2 combined:

Bill of Rights

Article #1...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

I do not disagree that there is nothing in the constitution that says there is separation of church and state at least not using that exact wording (Althought there should be!). However, simply by the nature in how it is worded, it does at least in some part suggest that there should be at least some separation of religion and Laws that are passed. This (in my opinion) includes not making laws "respecting" or favoring a particular religion. Granted I'm not a lawyer, but I would interpret this to mean the government should not make laws that are either based or favored by a particular religion. Religion should simply not play a part in our government, it's a deeply personal matter and should remain that way.

In Response to #3 the claim this was "Drummed up by Communists"

The truth about the origination for the term "Separation of Church and State":

It was the result of "an inference made from a letter [President Thomas]
Jefferson sent to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association on January
1, 1802." President Jefferson was responding to a letter written by the
Danbury Baptist Association expressing concern about individual
religious liberty and its place in the new nation at the time
Jefferson's presidency was being initiated. President Jefferson agreed
with the religious association that "religion is a matter which lies
solely between man and his God." Affirming the Establishment Clause
within his letter, Jefferson rested any fears the association may have
had by expressing his convictions that Congress would "make no law
respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof, 'thus building a wall of separation between church and
state.'" And thus, the nation's concept of a "separation between church
and state" was born.

The above quote was taken from here if you would like to review it...

Reply to Item #4)

As for the claim that every President puts his hand on the bible when taking the oath is not entirely accurate and has little to do with anything about church and state. It is based on the persons belief as to what is used. If our President or any elected official was Muslim it would be the Koran and if he/she was Jew it would be the Torah or a Jewish holy text, etc..

Proof of this is available here and as a reminder just because the "Christian" faith has been the most dominant religion in regards to political office in America does not make in the ONLY religion in this country. Fortunately, this archaic idea is changing and people are beginning to see religion should be no part of politics. It takes very little research to understand what happens when religion plays too big a roll in government. Our Founding fathers understood this, why can't people get this today?

And actually not every President has used the bible, here are other examples:

"As for U.S. presidents, in 1825 John Quincy Adams took the presidential
oath using a law volume instead of a Bible, and in 1853 Franklin Pierce
affirmed the oath rather than swearing it. Herbert Hoover, citing his
Quaker beliefs, also affirmed his oath in 1929 but did use a Bible,
according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
Theodore Roosevelt used no Bible in taking his first oath of office in
1901, but did use one in 1905."

House members are sworn in together on the House floor in a ceremony
without any book, holy or otherwise. But in an unofficial ceremony,
individual members reenact an oath-taking so that it can be
photographed--a tradition dating from the beginning of the wide use of

and Finally Item #5:

I understand that some christians believe that the bible is the only authority, but our government should not take that same stance given that would mean it does in fact "push" a specific religion (Christianity), and that should be prohibited, Oh! wait it already is! I'm not saying our Political Officials can't be people of faith, but at the same time they should be free to have any faith, or none at all.

Well, that was my little encounter of the day. No wonder this pisses so many people off, If our government actually followed our Bill of Rights, Issues like Gay Marriage, Abortions, Stem Cell Research should not even be up for debate!! Since every single case made against them are done by religious organizations using their particular faith as the sole reason they are against them!!! I'm drifting into rant session now, so I'll stop :)

No comments: