Separation of Church and State

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posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 05:31 PM
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A lot of religious conservatives oppose the separation of church and state. There are a number of reasons why this is a sinister development. For one thing, it was Baptists and Protestants who wanted church and state to be separated so that the state would not control the church, and certain churches would not control the state and persecute the others. Separation was solid Reformation tradition, going back to the thinking of Luther. The Dissenters knew that once the separation of church and state is lifted the state will control the church, and demand of the church continued support for the military and war. How oddly similar to today's reality!

Often religious Dominionists will point to the fact that church-state separation is not in the original Constitution. That is half correct. It is not in the original document. However, the people would not accept the original document without a Bill of Rights, which explicitly separates church and state:

"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."

Jefferson and Madison specifically desired church-state separation. Their desire, once adopted through Amendment, supercedes the wishes of any other Founder who might have had other wishes. That is an important point. Amendments supercede what came before. And, America would never accept the Constitution without assurances of liberty, religious and otherwise. Madison was a political pluralist who strongly desired church-state separation, and it was his wishes and those of the Jeffersonians that crafted the First Amendment.

Christians wanted church-state separation as much as Deists and others, because religious liberty protects everyone. Without the idea of a separation, the state will control the church. As it is, there is a trend in that direction, with American flags and pro-military psyops in churches and other religious bodies. Should not the Sanctuary be free of images and agendas?

Patrick Henry was allied to the Jeffersonians, and did seem to desire that people of wealth and substance support churches. When confronted by Jeffersonians in Virginia about his plan to force support for churches, Henry stated that the wealthy could also support bodies of philosophical discussion. The point was to elevate morality, which was seen as justified by a number of founders and often religious instruction would be harnessed to that end. Early Christian Patriots were (generally) religious liberals who subordinated theology to morality. This was the bedrock of American civil religion until Fundamentalists pointed out some inconsistencies in their position.

The last dominant white evangelical to be a leftist of the old civil religion variety was William Jennings Bryan. He was a socialist, a feminist, an anti-war activist, and believed in Divinely Guided evolution as a possibility (read his testimony on the stand during the Scopes Trial!). After Bryan, American Christianity moved rightward. African American Christianity continued in the old tradition. Now, as it is, it is very important to separate church and state because the 1% seek to use both.

That last point may be the most pregnant.




posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 05:35 PM
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en.wikipedia.org...

Why would that treaty ratifying Article 11 be especially entered



if theres one pattern in US policy it is that of seeding great CONTRADICTION




As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
edit on 4-4-2012 by BiggerPicture because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


Thanks for the post, I found it interesting and well thought out. My one counter to it would be



A lot of religious conservatives oppose the separation of church and state.


I am not so sure that is true. What exactly do you mean by that?

I realize there are religious people that support legislating church ideals and doctrine into law but that is not the same thing as opposing the separation of church and state.

To oppose the separation of church and state, to me, means that one either wants the church to control the state or the state to control the church.

Simply wishing to have church morals as laws doesn't make one oppose separation of church and state. I would say a small minority of both conservatives AND liberals do oppose the separation, either favoring the state or the church, certainly not "A lot" and certainly not just conservatives.

Just to be clear, I am for the separation and against legislating church morals as law. I am also agnostic and a conservative.

I just don't like to see conservatives dragged through the mud over religious beliefs that really have nothing to do with conservatism , whether unintentional or not. The religious right certainly does not represent a conservative platform and it is mislabeling them to say so.

I feel it is important to note that the left can be just as opposed to the separation of church and state but with opposite reasons than the right but it is honestly only a minority of people on either side of the fence that oppose it.

In the USA, the wall of separation is to ensure that the State does not interfere with religion, it is not to stop churches from interfering with the state though, whether wrong or right. They certainly have the right to petition government like everybody else.
edit on 4-4-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by sageofmonticello
 



I am not so sure that is true. What exactly do you mean by that?


Google "Dominionists," then read up on "The Family."



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 06:00 PM
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reply to post by DJW001
 


I know what your talking about so don't need to take up your suggestion though it is appreciated and i would like the opportunity to exchange dialogue.

In what context do you suggest that and what exactly is the point you are trying to get across with that suggestion?

This certainly isn't a prevailing "conservative" view despite the fact that they may hold other views that could be labeled "conservative" and they certainly don't represent a large portion of the population, though I would admit they always get out to vote.

Obviously, Dominionism would represent a break to the wall of separation but calling them conservatives is mislabeling. I will also admit that it is them that are mislabeling themselves but never the less...

Now if you want to be specific and talk about social conservatives or religious conservatives, fine, I would probably let that go but nobody has yet made that distinction. It was said "A lot of conservatives" with no specifics being mentioned that prompted my response.

In the common vernacular, when one says conservative, in this day and age and country at least, they mean, the right. Dominionism, obviously does not represent the right or even the religious right in whole but rather a small minority of people with, IMO some very crazy and dangerous views that honestly, have little chance of being pushed forward in this country though any constitutional means.

Saying A lot of conservatives oppose the separation of church and state is the same as saying (In the common vernacular) A lot of people on the right oppose the separation of church and state. A lot to me would mean a majority and that is certainly and clearly not true.
edit on 4-4-2012 by sageofmonticello because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 08:38 PM
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reply to post by sageofmonticello
 


"In the USA, the wall of separation is to ensure that the State does not interfere with religion, it is not to stop churches from interfering with the state though, whether wrong or right. They certainly have the right to petition government like everybody else."

Yes. Their right to petition government is also limited like that of everyone else, in that no one can petition government to deny the rights of others. The right to influence government should be limited by the rights of others.

In particular, the Baptists supported Jefferson's separationism because they did not want Episcopalians and Presbyterians suppressing their rights. Naturally the Baptists would have wanted the right to petition for moral standards that they would have approved. It is a strawman to argue that separationism prevents that kind of advocacy. If anything, separation of church and state is what allows churches to advocate for moral positions. It protects the right of conscience.

What is forbidden is the establishment of religion. That means "equal time" in schools if and when the Bill of Rights applies to the States, as it should. It means school prayer. It means the idea of a "Christian Nation" which the Puritans and Dissenters never would have supported since it would have meant the Anglican Church or even Rome. It means the right of private organizations to use their power to establish legal control. Failure to acknowledge this means that American democracy becomes like democracy in Libya or Egypt, a prelude to a Christian version of Al Qeada or the Muslim Brotherhood. One man, one vote, one time.

Remember that early American Christians were often liberals and leftists. By "Christian principles" they often meant child labor laws and abolition. These were the "left side" of the Decalogue, the Sixth through Tenth Commandments dealing with interpersonal human relations. The distinction between the horizontal Law which can be legislated and the Vertical Law which is within the human heart and which cannot be legislated is classic Reformed and Dissenter tradition. By no means was it invented in the Enlightenment or by Jefferson.

It also strongly suggests separation of church and state is a Christian idea if we go with many of the Dissenters who helped found the country. (Roger Williams) One thing to remember, there is no "wall of separation" that only protects the church. If the church tries to influence the state, the state will then seek to influence the church if only through covert means. Call it spiritual cointelpro. It exists and it always has.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 09:08 PM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


I agree.

Sorry, I don't have much else to reply than that.



posted on Apr, 5 2012 @ 04:25 PM
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reply to post by sageofmonticello
 


Sure. Thanks for the thumbs up.

My point is that church goers need to remember that once the wall of separation breaks down it will either be the big churches who control the government or the government that controls the church. Churches that are congregational and democratic will lose either way.





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