It’s really not though. In no part of the constitution does the phrase “Seperation of Church and State” appear. The ideal of the seperation however is taken from the paragraph that dictates that religious organizations and the government will always remain seperated.
As a result, the government has no affiliation with any religion at all. The problem lies in the fact that so many people’s religious beliefs are ingrained into themselves, their lifestyles, opinions and choices. As a result, much of our laws and social ideas stem from the religious reasonings. The other problem lies in that the liklihood of this ever changing is minimal - seeing as how being religious is almost synonomous as being a moral being. So someone who has a strong faith probably believes in that which is good and righteous. As the most common religion in our country is Christianity, then it is easy to see the obvious relationships between the two. Our founding fathers didn’t preach christianity - that much is obvious. The end result however is that because Christianity is the most prevalent religion in our country, most people try to level it by saying that our founding fathers intended it this way, when I believe they did not.
I see it on the same level of Isreal, or Saudia Arabia. Because in Israel so many of the people and politicians are Jewish, then many of their laws stem from the Jewish principals. In Saudia Arabia, because so many of those people and their politicians are of the Muslim faith, then their laws and social ideas stem from Islamic principals.
Ugh, why do people care so much, why can’t it just be like a “Okay whatever” type of thing. There’s a picture of some guy with a beard and a white robe. There’s a giant slab with 10 random sentences. Big deal. I don’t get why everyone has to freak out about everything.
Actually Sorc, there is a speration of church and state in the Constituition. It is the first part of the First Amendment. It clearly says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion…” The Fourteenth Amendment makes that part also apply to the states, so states can’t have an established relgion either. Congress is the one that legislates the laws and creates establishments, so if they can’t do it, then no one on the federal level can. The reason that states can’t do it on their own is that it starts to discriminate and restrict the freedoms of those that aren’t a part of that religion which then violates the Constitution (I forget what part though). States can give more rights than the federal government, but cannot take away rights granted by the federal government. Establishing a religion in a state, would be giving mroe rights to one religion which would infringe on the religion of another. It doesn’t specifically say “Seperation of church and state,” but it does say the actions to prevent church and state from being one. Seperation of church and state isn’t jsut an ideal, it is stated in the Constituion, just not in the way that everybody calls it.
Christianity is very brawd and there are many different factions of it. Such as Lutherans and Catholics are both Chrisitian, but they have very different beliefs and practices. The same thing goes with all the other factions, so saying that the founding fathers had Chrisitan beliefs isn’t all that valid. Besides, their individual beliefs varied and they were part of different sects. You are very right about how religion has become synonymous with moral being…unless you’re Muslim.
That goes back to the Supremacy Claus (Article VI). It says that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. The way that it ties into schools and other government institution is through laws that Congress has passed. When Congress made it so that everyone had to go to school, it makes it part of Congress. Article I lists the things that Congress is in charge of, which are things such as the post office (specifically said in the Constitution), schools done through legislation since the Constitution was started, and various other acts. It also deals with funding. If the government funds an institution, it can’t have a religious setup. Federally funded orginizations, events, whatever, can’t have an established religion. If they did, Congress would be showing a bias then, hence violating the First Amendment.
Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads
Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
However, remember that there are a few religious symbols in our gov, like “In God We Trust” and the President swears in with his hand on a Bible. I think those are really just symbols now, and don’t have quite the religous meaning they used to.
whoops forgot one
Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The thing is though, some people read the 1st Amendment as meaning respecting the establishment of one religion over another. So, as such, there can be argued possibly some sort of furthering of religious institutions (possibly a truly egalitarian faith-based initiative, places of worship not having to pay taxes). But even aside from that, if we were to take separation of church and state to a rather logical end, we would arrive to the concept of sanctuary, churches granting solace to criminals (if they so desire); however, a reading of the 1st Amendment without the “separation of church and state” summary would lend no such justification.
Few more minor things I just feel like saying and don’t expect any responses to:
Under Lockeian Philosophy, which our nation IS founded on, governments do not give rights. They give priviledges. Rights are an inherent quality given to everyone by God, or Buddha, or Nature, or whatever. Semantics, maybe, but it’s a rather important distinction when talking about political philosophy and role of government and all that because if government can give rights, it can justifiably take them away too.
The 14th Amendment does not clearly state that the Bill of Rights applies to the states. That is just how its “equal protection under the law” clause was, and still is, read by the Supreme Court.
The “no one on the federal level can” thing really has no basis in the 1st Amendment. That, again, is covered by the Equal Protection Clause. But then again, the Founders never really intended for our government to be such a morass of bureaucracy, so it was meant just to prohibit Congress, the ONLY branch meant to make rules that affect society, none of this regulation from FDA or FCC or whatever.
However, it doesn’t matter what others think, it’s up to the courts. Also, I addressed the favoring issue you mention. The establishment part is fairly clear and shows that Congress isn’t allowed to setup one relgion as a part of the state. The areas go into are the gray areas that still haven’t been decided by the courts because they just are that, gray areas. If the courts haven’t decided the full meaning in over 200 years, we sure as hell won’t on these boards. The gray coems from understanding what exactly “establish” means.
However, we aren’t purely based on Lockeian principles. Also, you are looking at a different aspect of Lockeian principles. Our princles are based on humans having inalienable rights that can’t be taken away. To find out our interpretation of Lockeian values, you ahve to look at the Declaration of Independence. Also, you can’t look solely at Locke, you ahve to look at the other pholiospghers, such as Hobbs, that our Constituiton is ALSO built upon. The Lockeian values that we are based upon are: property (intellectual, money, physical, etc.), limited government, individualism, free markets/capitalism, and equality (no kings and everyone has the same rights and privledges, the nobelity parts of our Consitituition come from here). Locke talked about privledges, we talk about rights. Our Consitution is based on many govenrments, ideas, histories, even the British government that we fought to seperate ourselves from.
I know that, but it makes the principles of it apply. The Bill of Rights are in away laws (laws on government), which is why it applies. It is also an equalizer.
I wasn’t meaning it was solely the First Amendment. Legislation and judical precednts are also an important factor, along with why I brought up the Fourteenth Amendment. Also, you can’t go solely by the Founders intents since we do have Amendments which have various times. Not only that, but the Founders didn’t write the Bill of Rights, in fact they were against them. The Constitution was changed drastically with the Bill of Rights.
Excellent Representative Democrat argument though. I’m a Constitutionalists, which is why we will never come to an agreement.