Some points I wanted to make as a follow up to yesterday’s Separation of Church and State post.
– The focus of the entry was really more to show how much I enjoyed having a discussion in which one side did not feel it absolutely necessary to tear down the other. This is the type of discussion I wanted to engage in with my question about Separation and State. Unfortunately some people (as expected) totally missed that part of the entry.
– I have said this before and I will say it again. Religious people are not the problem and people who are not religious are not the problem. Extremists of any kind are the problem. This post inspired people from both extremes to reply and I welcome everyone’s opinion. That being said, don’t label me based on one opinion on one topic. I hate being boxed in.
Just because I feel that church and state should be separate does not mean that I do not see the merits being a person of faith can carry. It does not mean I am discrediting those who hold their religion as the center of their moral foundation. There is nothing wrong with this. There is something wrong with forcing others to abide by that same moral code when they do not share your faith.
Government officials are people. These people do have there own personal beliefs and they will undoubtedly shape the way they do heir jobs. But we have a system of checks and balances for a reason. This system is what is supposed to separate us from the rest. It’s what is supposed to be so great about our democratic model. It’s what we have in place to prevent personal beliefs from shaping our laws.
– “If you think this country is so horrible then maybe you should go live somewhere else.” I always laugh when some form of that comment is thrown at me. Let me tell you why people get so angry with topics such as these. They want to be in charge and they are frustrated when they feel that they are not. Simple as that.
With people who have not traditionally been in power the story remains the same. They want a seat at the table. They are frustrated and tired of being left out. Would this make you angry? It would make me angy.
With people who have traditionally been in power, they see change as a threat. They feel like their place at the table is bing taken from them. It scares them in many ways. Would you be angry if someone was trying to take what you thought was yours? What your forefathers fought and died for? I would too.
When all of these emotions collide there is often very little room left for reason. It is not the presence of religion that makes people unreasonable, but rather it’s the fear that takes over. This is what politicians play on. This is what divides us. The fear.
– Lastly, what is the purpose behind separation of church and state? This was a question addressed by many who replied to yesterday’s post. The purpose of separation of church and state, as it exists today, is to do exactly what the statement implies. To keep the entity of religion (ANY religion) completely separate from the government. This does not mean that the government is advocating atheism. It is not denouncing religion.
Some of you made mention to Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. There was speculation to why the idea of separation of church and state came about in the first place. It was meant to protect the church.
Well here is the fact of the matter. Whether it was originally meant to protect the church or not is irrelevant. It is no longer meant to protect anyone in particular. It is simply meant to guard against the government promoting or favoring one religion over any others.
There are many things that have changed in this country over time that go against what our founding fathers may have intended. Our founding fathers did not intend for women to have the right to vote. Does that mean we should not have ratified the 19th ammendment? Our founding fathers found nothing wrong with having children work. Does that mean we should not have child labor laws?
Our country was founded as a Christian nation over 225 years ago. The different parties in our government were merely different factions of the same group. Because of this some of our earliest legislation and ideals may not have been as all inclusive as we would like to believe. Our government has slowly been moving in the direction to correct this. The evolution of separation church and state is just one example.