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Separation of Church/State - is it even possible?

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posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 01:59 PM
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On recent threads, I have heard the topic of separation of Church and State come up. I know about the age-old debate of "is that even in the Constitution", and that is being addressed in other threads. No need for another battlefront for that question.

What I am wondering, is such a separation even possible? Government (State) is run by people, not by computers or machines. All people have some set of beliefs they subscribe to, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Gnostic, or The Way of the Flying Lump Of Cheese. Each person involved in the running of the government will, by their very human nature, see things through the lens, so to speak, of their beliefs. So how can State and Church be totally separated?

Another problem is equal access. Should we pass laws to restrict certain religious-affiliated people from running for public office, or even from holding government jobs? If so, what groups should be excluded?

I really want to hear others' views on this, but I also don't want this to turn into a pro/con-religion orgy. Lets keep things logical and civil, shall we?

TheRedneck




posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 05:46 AM
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Of course it's possible - just look at the many secular states around the world. Even the UK is massively secular, and the Queen's title is "Defender of the Faith". I guess if the representatives represent their constituencies, and not themselves, it's easy to remove religion from the equation.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 07:41 PM
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reply to post by dave420
 

Should the representatives represent their constituents, would not the constituents themselves see things from their own personal, possibly religious standpoint? And how do you get true representation without the opinions and beliefs of the representative coloring their decision? If things worked that way, why would it matter who was elected as representative, since whoever was elected would simply 'rubber stamp' the will of the people?

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


In Christian Nations its impossible, when have this historical background, and nations are made by Vatican orders, and Kings are blessed by Pope. Kings and nobles are followers of common order, by their oaths, and nations are made for Christian values, and that can not be changed without occupation or total disorder: Revolution by public.

Church can higher or lower its influence, but can not be ignored in state level and its hierarchy. Church is a main part of protocols, and in nations symbolism.

Power structures, like masonic or royal, are made to secure common faith. Even when church has already done its great part in crusades, and have quit different meaning in daily life today, its still have right to collect taxes, own and give propertys, and nations has no right to put taxes to its revenues.

Vatican - London - Washington DC is the power triangle of Christian Nations. Even Adolf Hitler or Stalin didnt question this order, and its value to nations.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:27 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


How does it work? Easy. The politician represents his/her constituents, not themselves. If their constituents are religious, then they can all vote on secular laws based on religious doctrine. The problems arise when politicians represent their religion in office, not the people. When that happens, the separation has gone down the drain. They are politicians first, and people second.

Who is elected matters because of the party they belong to, and the party line. The party comes up with its manifesto based on the will of the people, and what they think is right. As long as the basis for their thinking isn't religious, but methodical, logical, rational analysis of the current situation and all relevent data, then there's a seperation. If Poltician X says "well, I think we should do this because of God", then boom - the seperation is gone.

The seperation is designed to stop an overwhelming religion steer the law against other religions, or to unfairly help itself. If we stick with the facts, suddenly everything makes more sense.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by dave420
reply to post by TheRedneck
 


How does it work? Easy. The politician represents his/her constituents, not themselves. If their constituents are religious, then they can all vote on secular laws based on religious doctrine. The problems arise when politicians represent their religion in office, not the people. When that happens, the separation has gone down the drain. They are politicians first, and people second.

Who is elected matters because of the party they belong to, and the party line. The party comes up with its manifesto based on the will of the people, and what they think is right. As long as the basis for their thinking isn't religious, but methodical, logical, rational analysis of the current situation and all relevent data, then there's a seperation. If Poltician X says "well, I think we should do this because of God", then boom - the seperation is gone.

The seperation is designed to stop an overwhelming religion steer the law against other religions, or to unfairly help itself. If we stick with the facts, suddenly everything makes more sense.


I could not agree more with your first point. Star for you.

It is the job of representatives to be REPRESENTATIVE. The sad part is, now every politician has personal gain to be made by changing up their viewpoints and votes.

As far as religion, redneck, I don't think it is possible in the way you describe it, but I'd also like to make the distinction between someone's moral fortitude and their religion. I know some pretty awful people who love to preach the word of the lord.

I just think that there is a difference between Bush's Christian God and many others' Christian God.

I am not into religion, but I think I have the brains to realize what being a good person is, and that's all we really need in our gov: some decent people.

But that is too much to ask, I guess.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:47 PM
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reply to post by JanusFIN
 

I'm a bit confused by one part of your post. I did not know any churches had the right to tax. If you're referring to the tithe, that is voluntary between the individual and God in my experience, and in any case, no one I know of is required to attend a church in the first place.

I admit that I know little about religious practices in other areas, so a bit of enlightenment would be helpful here.

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:56 PM
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reply to post by dave420
 

I understand your description would be ideal, and I could not think of a better way to run any government. What I am addressing, though, is the question of whether human nature itself makes that goal unobtainable.

I personally can think of no individual I know, myself included, that would be able to completely ignore all feelings of morality and belief in the execution of his/her position. I even do it driving a truck, maneuvering to help those who are in need of entering traffic, etc., at the expense of my own efficiency or the convenience of others who have no desire to help. In a position of greater power, would these actions increase? I think they would.

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Well it isn't really written in the constitution. Though most assume it to be a part of the first amendment. All that state is . . . that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"

I have always thought that this meant there could be no government enforced religion, though I could be wrong.

Thomas Jefferson said it best in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association:


Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:04 PM
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reply to post by SantaClaus
 


It is the job of representatives to be REPRESENTATIVE. The sad part is, now every politician has personal gain to be made by changing up their viewpoints and votes.


Agreed, wholeheartedly. But if one is to be truly representative, doesn't that mean they must also represent their constituents' morality as well?


As far as religion, redneck, I don't think it is possible in the way you describe it, but I'd also like to make the distinction between someone's moral fortitude and their religion. I know some pretty awful people who love to preach the word of the lord.


OK, that one got you a star.
I know some myself.

I get your distinction, although I tend to think the two (morality and religion) are intertwined to some degree. Perhaps that degree is different for different people. Much to think about here, thanks.


I just think that there is a difference between Bush's Christian God and many others' Christian God.

I am not into religion, but I think I have the brains to realize what being a good person is, and that's all we really need in our gov: some decent people.


You'll get no argument from me on Bush's apparent hypocrisy. As a matter of fact, I'll extend that to most politicians in the US today, on both sides of the aisle.


But that is too much to ask, I guess.


Again, I must agree.

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by bobafett1972
 

I have always considered Thomas Jefferson as a very wise man. Would you consider that 'wall of separation' to be complete, or porous? That is, can there ever be a body of men who will not in some way act on religious beliefs in some respect, be it theirs or their constituents'?

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


I would say, can there ever be again, a body of men . . .

Call me romantic but I think I founding fathers tried a least to do just that. Will it happen again? I haven't the answer. The pessimist in me says no. Religion aside; there are so many other issues that seem to buy our leaders time and vote. It would be nice if men/women had enough personal integrity do do what is right for the good of the people that the represent but it seems that no one is up to the task. This is nothing new.

I think that most start with good intention but that just paves the road. They get lost and caught up in the game. Once it is gone, it is hard, if not impossible to get back.

Back to the original question I guess. Part of me wants to believe that someones personal beliefs can be set aside for the common good. It has been done in the past. I am not sure I even said anything in the last three paragraphs. Excuse my rambling.

~B

edit for spelling error

[edit on 3/31/2008 by bobafett1972]



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:33 PM
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reply to post by bobafett1972
 


I would say, can there ever be again, a body of men . . .


I wonder, was there ever such a body, or is it simply our fervent hope? Every time I watch the History Channel, I seem to realize more and more the sad fact that today isn't all that different from yesteryear in most aspects. Perhaps that is why I posed the question in the first place.

Oh, and before I forget, you're romantic. You're welcome.


TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:33 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


From country to another, system how it has made, changes, but state church has its part from all incomes. In my country you can ask for freedom from it, but then you loose your rights to church "free" services too. (Freedom of religion) But business pays taxes to State churches, so money goes there anyway.

In many country its not a separate part of income tax, and its payed directly to church from states funds referring to incomes.

Basically, if you have religion, you can collect tax from your followers, without government have a right to tax your incomes from it. You can not tax a tax, you know.

I can not say how it is in USA, I am talking about northern Europe, witch I know. US constitution makes many difference in its articles, but there is also state church, so there is a tax collected to fund it and to profit.

Churches (Vatican) wants their share from developing economy in every Christian country. (Mostly why they exist with their banks, my view...)



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:36 PM
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There seems to be some confusion as to the exact meaning of the phrase "separation of Church and State". It doesn't mean that there will be no religion in the state, nor does it mean that office holders cannot (or should not) be persons of religious faith.

It means that no Church will receive preferential treatment under the law. Period. It does not prohibit the President from being (as an example) a Mormon...but it DOES prevent a law being enacted that says "Only a Mormon can be President"...or that only Baptists can vote...or that the death penalty only applies to Protestants.

One consequence of the concept that doesn't seem to get a lot of "air time" is that it (at least in a technical sense) means that the government can't be totally atheistic, either...



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 09:42 PM
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reply to post by JanusFIN
 

I learned something today, thank you. I was totally unaware that any church anywhere had the right to levy a tax.

Here in the US, each church simply collects donations from its members, completely voluntary. Of course, there are some who tend to frown upon you if you do not drop something into that collection tray, but I tend to avoid those. and of course, the Biblical idea of the tithe (10%) is usually stressed.

I prefer it that way, but then again, that could be because that is what I am used to. We also have the tax-exempt status of the churches, supposedly based on the concept that they typically give their income to charity anyway. That has come under attack if a preacher is deemed to be pushing a political message, but for the most part it is still in place.

So I take it you believe a complete separation is impossible? Or did I misunderstand?

TheRedneck



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


It's happening across the world as we speak. The way religion is important in American politics is not reflected in most of the first world. My experience in following various elections around Europe showed me that many, if not most, European voters don't even know what religion their representatives are, or even care. They won't vote in a crazy person because they're the same religion, just as they won't not vote for a very clever person just because their religion is different. Heck, I didn't even know Tony Blair was seriously religious until he left office.

It's not about morality. Representatives don't make choices - they represent the voters. It's up to the voters to make the moral choices, and the representatives represent that choice in government. The clue is in the name :-P

If one can't seperate oneself from one's job, or one's god from one's job, then one has no business participating professionally as a secular human being, as one simply isn't. The morality you speak of has nothing to do with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Pastafarianism, whatever - it has everything to do with being a human being.



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 11:35 PM
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reply to post by dave420
 


It's not about morality. Representatives don't make choices - they represent the voters. It's up to the voters to make the moral choices, and the representatives represent that choice in government. The clue is in the name :-P


Maybe I'm just a little slow; please don't interpret the constant replies to an attack, as they are not intended to be. I am simply trying to fully understand your position.

If we assume that the representative actually does the job of representing (which is a rare thing here in the US it seems
), which I agree is their job at its most basic level, they are then representing a moral position, even if it is the moral position of the constituents. So is that not an intergation of the morals and values into government?

Oh, and just so there is no confusion... I personally find a candidate's religious convictions to be of very little importance, save the case that I do not want someone 'fanatical' in a position of governmental power.

TheRedneck



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