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The Myth of the Separation of Church and State

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posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 08:22 AM
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Now before people start losing their minds, let me say I'm not saying that there's no such thing as a separation of Church and State in America. Heck, the phrase itself comes from Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers. And we have the Treaty of Tripoli which states emphatically that America is not founded on the Christian faith.

In fact there's no way that America, or any other nation, could be a Christian nation. It's an oxymoron that goes against what the Bible says. Throughout the Hebrew Testament (commonly falsely called the Old Testament) the Most High is telling the nation of Israel to not desire to be like other nations with kings who preside over them. They constantly coveted other nations who were ruled over by kings. And every time Israel had their own king, it turned out not so well for them. Even in Jesus' time when Rome ruled over them, it didn't turn out well. Israel was supposed to be a sanctified nation. Sanctified means "set apart." They were not to model themselves after "secular" nations. For a more in-depth analysis of this, check out Shane Claiborne's book "Jesus For President."

No, my point with this post and the title is in response to people, whether they are secularists, atheists, Liberal believers, etc., who say that one's faith should not influence one's politics. That's absolutely 100% impossible. For those who have faith, their faith is usually deeply ingrained. So every decision they make, especially in matters of politics, is going to be influenced by their faith.

Usually this point is brought up when one's faith influences their politics in areas that some people would disagree with them. For instance, when it comes to such controversial topics as abortion and homosexual rights. But why is it when one's faith guides them to take stances that the above-mentioned groups agree with, you don't hear that same objection? For instance, if a believer takes an opposition to the death penalty or war because of their faith, you don't hear those same people telling them to separate their faith from their politics.

The bottom line is it's impossible for someone to separate their faith from their politics. Their faith is going to directly influence their politics on a personal level, and that includes those who are in positions of political power.




posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 08:39 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 


indeed. Separation is virtually impossible on a personal level. You can however, choose not to create laws that suit the churches viewpoint on a state level.

In my country there is a hot debate over the inclusion of sex education in schools. The church is of course against it. I however feel that children need guidance. And since most parent are ashamed of speaking with children about sex and vice versa...that really logically leaves schools. I see it no different than learning about other subjects.

In this instance, I really hope we can separate church and state. Not because I'm not a church going guy...but because it's a right thing to do for the children.

Separation is needed since the laws of a country have to follow the times. We can not allow ancient church dogma to dictate our daily lives through laws. If given the power...it certainly would.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 08:42 AM
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I was under the assumption that people needed to be a christian or religious just to run for office in some states.

There is a way to have separation from church and state elect atheists. However from what I remember from a poll I saw long time ago atheists were the least trusted group in the usa .

One nation under god . sounds pretty one sided as I don't think they are referring to allah or, one of the hindu gods,or buddha and to celebrate only christian holidays. seems the action of people over the history of america have tried hard to make it a christian state .

One would have to be severely brain damaged to not realize that the separation of church and state is an outright lie.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 08:43 AM
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You're absolutely right. A person's faith, or lack thereof, will influence their "politics".

This is why we have a constitution, and a representative form of government. The constitution is the law of the land, and the measuring stick. Whatever ones personal beliefs may be, decisions are based on the law of the land. Not the personal beliefs of the legislative, executive, or judicial branches.

The constitution is the check and balance of the system. Everything is to be measured against it, to preserve the rights of the whole, as well as the individual.
edit on 2/26/2013 by Klassified because: punct.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:12 AM
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The confusion over "Separation of Church and State" is that too many people don't understand the state of the world in the 1700s, why this amendment was included in the Constitution and what it is intended to do.

In Britain, at that time, a person needed to be a member of the Church of England in order to participate in the country's governance. You had to sign off on the Church's Thirty Nine Articles in order to hold civic office, and that meant being a church member in good standing and affirming all sorts of Christian doctrine, including the divine supremacy of the King. Non-Christians, and Christians of a non-Anglican Church basis, were excluded and quite often persecuted for it.

Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, not a Christian.

Whether he included this amendment for personal reasons, or because it was the right thing to do, is a matter for debate, but if Jefferson was a raving Christian, it might not have made it in there. But what was this amendment actually intended to do?


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

Well, there is a restriction on Congress, stating that they cannot pass a law creating an American version of the Church of England, along with part two, saying that they cannot pass a law preventing someone from practicing religion the way that they want to.

While the current atmosphere claims that the Establishment Clause proclaims a "freedom FROM religion", that isn't the case -- it was written, and intended, to be a "freedom OF religion." There is nothing there that says anything about the influence of the church, or the churched, on government, just the opposite -- government is precluded from influencing the church, and that all goes back to the Church of England (as well as other State religions and the intertwining between both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and various governments, dating back centuries.)
edit on 26-2-2013 by adjensen because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by freedomSlave
I was under the assumption that people needed to be a christian or religious just to run for office in some states.


No. That would violate the Constitution:


The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

- US Constitution Article VI, paragraph 3




There is a way to have separation from church and state elect atheists. However from what I remember from a poll I saw long time ago atheists were the least trusted group in the usa .


Not only that, but atheists only make up like 6% of the population. Hardly enough to run an entire country, and that's assuming that every atheist would want to be a politician. Furthermore, doing such a thing would be discriminating against religious people.


and to celebrate only christian holidays.


Not quite. Those so-called "Christian holidays" are actually pagan in origin. Furthermore, it's not "only Christian holidays." There are tons of secular holidays that are celebrated also.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:21 AM
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I think the separation of Church and State is a necessary thing, lest we become Saudi Arabia or ..closer to home for examples, England with the Church of England as it once stood for raw power in people's daily life.

At the same time, I think the push has been on for quite awhile to destroy everything RELATED to religion in contact with state matters, not simply a specific Faith or even specific direction. Values like honesty, fidelity and integrity are as easily laughed at and ridiculed by being similar enough to Religious core principles to be lumped in as what needs separated by entirely too many people.

We don't need any SPECIFIC faith holding power or sway in Washington. However, Faith in something larger than themselves IS important for our elected leaders. Those who believe in only man for a Deity has a false God and a life of bitter disappointment ahead of them, IMO.
edit on 26-2-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:24 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 



Originally posted by LazarusTsiyr
No, my point with this post and the title is in response to people, whether they are secularists, atheists, Liberal believers, etc., who say that one's faith should not influence one's politics. That's absolutely 100% impossible.


Agreed. One's faith will influence their political decisions. A person's personal opinions of any kind, whether religious or not, will influence their political decisions... BUT that's different than respecting a separation of church and state. All that means is that the government is a separate body from the church and should be making laws based on the founding documents, not making laws based on religious text (like Sharia Law, for example).

If a Christian leader is in the position of deciding whether or not to make gay marriage legal, he should refer to the founding documents (the fourteenth amendment, to be precise), NOT the latest interpretation of the bible. It's LAW, not a personal practice of morality. It's a flaw in character, IMO. A leader should be able to understand that his PERSONAL beliefs are contrary to the Constitution, and, in his elected position as "defender and protector of the Constitution" he should refer to IT, not his religious teachings.

Countries whose laws are based on religious ideals (theocracies) use religion to make laws.


For instance, if a believer takes an opposition to the death penalty or war because of their faith, you don't hear those same people telling them to separate their faith from their politics.


It's true. The system isn't perfect. If the US were truly maintaining secular law, gays could marry and women's bodies would NOT be fodder for politics.
Morality would not be legislated at all.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:33 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
A person's personal opinions of any kind, whether religious or not, will influence their political decisions... BUT that's different than respecting a separation of church and state.


I acknowledged that in the OP. My post is about those who claim that one's religious beliefs shouldn't influence their politics. To me, that's an absolutely absurd position to take.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:34 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 



Originally posted by LazarusTsiyr
Not only that, but atheists only make up like 6% of the population. ...Furthermore, doing such a thing would be discriminating against religious people.


If that's true, isn't electing a Christian leader discriminating against atheists? Besides, there are atheist politicians. Jesse Ventura comes to mind.

List of Atheists in Politics and Law



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:38 AM
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And we have the Treaty of Tripoli which states emphatically that America is not founded on the Christian faith.


Actually not, it's been known since the 1930's that the section in the "translation" of the treaty doesn't exist in the original. Stephen Jay Gould's website still flogs the lie. Of course, he's dead. What's your excuse, if I may ask?


No, my point with this post and the title is in response to people, whether they are secularists, atheists, Liberal believers, etc., who say that one's faith should not influence one's politics.


Funny, all the liberals I know favor voter sovreignity. Conservatives, too. It means you vote however you want, for whatever reason you want, and you don't have to disclose, much less explain your vote to anybody else.

American wasn't founded on that principle, either. It took a while for secret ballots to become uniformly available. The idea has pretty well caught on, though.


The bottom line is it's impossible for someone to separate their faith from their politics. Their faith is going to directly influence their politics on a personal level, and that includes those who are in positions of political power.


Agreed. So, the phrase "separation of church and state" must refer to something else altogether.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:57 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 



Originally posted by LazarusTsiyr
My post is about those who claim that one's religious beliefs shouldn't influence their politics. To me, that's an absolutely absurd position to take.


Yes, and I said, "Agreed". What do you want?


My point is that one's PERSONAL beliefs, whether religious or not, WILL influence their politics and their decisions, BUT when it comes to making laws, they should NOT refer to the bible, but to the Constitution. THAT is separation of church and state. They should rule against their personal belief if it is contrary to the Constitution.

Of course, they DON'T do that, presently. But it is the way it should be, according to Benevolent Heretic.
.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 


I agree. Our faith lays the groundwork or foundation from which all other idealistic tendencies grow and flourish. Our views on politics, morality and knowledge stem from it.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 



Originally posted by LazarusTsiyr
Not only that, but atheists only make up like 6% of the population. ...Furthermore, doing such a thing would be discriminating against religious people.


If that's true, isn't electing a Christian leader discriminating against atheists?


No. I was responding to a guy who said to ONLY elect atheists. No one is calling for an election of ONLY "Christian" leaders. So, no offense, but your point makes no sense.



Besides, there are atheist politicians. Jesse Ventura comes to mind.


I didn't say there weren't. Please go back and read what I said again.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:12 AM
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reply to post by LazarusTsiyr
 



Originally posted by LazarusTsiyr
No. I was responding to a guy who said to ONLY elect atheists. No one is calling for an election of ONLY "Christian" leaders. So, no offense, but your point makes no sense.


The guy you were responding to didn't say ONLY atheists. It seems like you're just being argumentative, although I'm not sure why. I was agreeing with you for the most part and enjoying this thread... But I'll leave you to it.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


No, not trying to be argumentative at all. He said, "There is a way to have separation from church and state elect atheists."

I read that as only elect atheists. That's the only way you'd have a separation of church and state. I took it that he was saying only atheists should be elected to political positions in this country.

My sincerest apologies if I came across argumentative. Not trying to all.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:28 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


The difference between "of" and "from" is often nothing at all. If I were to say "I am FROM Chicago" or "I am OF Chicago" would it not mean the exact same thing? You would now know that I live in Chicago. In many other languages the same word is used to express these two. When speaking about freedom OF religion, freedom FROM religion is inherently implied.



There is nothing there that says anything about the influence of the church, or the churched, on government, just the opposite -- government is precluded from influencing the church...


You must see further than this shallow argument that has been made so many times. Yes, the government cannot impose a religion on the governed. But the governed cannot impose a religion upon the government either since the end result is government imposing religion on the governed! The only difference being one is the explicit endorsement by the government while the other is implicit. There is no real difference between the two. In one case the government creates laws dictated by religious belief, in the other, government creates laws dictated by religious belief. Either scenario would infringe on the right of people to freely exercise the religion of their choice. This is why there is a seperation that must go both ways.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 10:56 AM
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Originally posted by LuckyLucian
reply to post by adjensen
 


The difference between "of" and "from" is often nothing at all. If I were to say "I am FROM Chicago" or "I am OF Chicago" would it not mean the exact same thing? You would now know that I live in Chicago. In many other languages the same word is used to express these two. When speaking about freedom OF religion, freedom FROM religion is inherently implied.

No, I don't think that is true. The Establishment Clause is regarding religion, not non-religion. Freedom "of" religion means that you are free to practice, or not practice, any and all religions. Freedom "from" religion is seen, by some, to mean that we have an implicit right to not have religion play any part of society or governance, which is not the case, neither realistically nor Constitutionally.


You must see further than this shallow argument that has been made so many times. Yes, the government cannot impose a religion on the governed. But the governed cannot impose a religion upon the government either since the end result is government imposing religion on the governed!

The difference is that the governed cannot impose a religion upon the government, because they lack the power to pass laws.

The wording of the First Amendment is very specific, and very intentional. We can see why it was written that way by looking at the historical landscape under which it was crafted, and if Jefferson had intended it to be what you would like it to be, and what the "freedom FROM religion" movement would like it to be, it would have been worded significantly different.



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 01:54 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




The Establishment Clause is regarding religion, not non-religion. Freedom "of" religion means that you are free to practice, or not practice, any and all religions.


Please show me the distinction. If one does not practice a religion how does that not fall under your term of "non-religion"? This is, in fact, exactly the same thing. One who is non-religious is free to be so. Thus, freedom OF religion is freedom FROM religion. This is not just a protection for those without a religion from those who do, but protection for those with a religion from other religions as well.



The difference is that the governed cannot impose a religion upon the government, because they lack the power to pass laws.


Please don't be so obtuse. Let me elucidate. A heavily religious district votes in a very religious Representative or Senator into Congress. This Representative proceeds to vote and sponsor bills rooted in their religious beliefs. The governed have now imposed religion by proxy through the government. No, government hasn't explicitly endorsed a religion, but through legislation they would then be endorsing the rules, dogma, and practices of a given religion. I mistakenly thought people would be able to follow the thought through by saying it in a single sentence. With the rise and influence of Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists, this is a real threat to religious freedom of people who do not follow Christianity within certain States and to a degree at the national level.

Let's take a look at the historical landscape under which it was crafted. Colony of Massachusetts Bay - had an established "state" church. Colony of Virginia - had an established "state" church. Colony of Georgia - had an established "state" church. Colony of Connecticut - had an established "state" church. Colony of Maryland - had an established "state" church. Colony of North Carolina - had an established "state" church. Colony of South Carolina - had an established "state" church. Colony of New Hampshire - had an established "state" church. In many instances if you weren't a member you couldn't legally own land. You couldn't vote. You were taxed by the church. Do not think this was only crafted to seperate the US from the way England was run. It was to end the way the colonies themselves, here, were run. To think that the States at their young stage after the ratification of the Constitution were suddenly wiped clean of the influence of the church is just foolish. These powerful institutions were still attempting to wield influence within the government. This is why it does implicitly also mean "from".

At least in this case you appear to be an Originalist in regards to the Constitution, while I am of the belief that it is a "living" document. There are issues in today's world that could not have been foreseen in those days. This is why we have a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, and they have made their determination on this issue. That determination has been "of" also means "from".



posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by LuckyLucian
reply to post by adjensen
 




The Establishment Clause is regarding religion, not non-religion. Freedom "of" religion means that you are free to practice, or not practice, any and all religions.


Please show me the distinction. If one does not practice a religion how does that not fall under your term of "non-religion"? This is, in fact, exactly the same thing.

Unless you're willing to state that non-religion is a religion (ie: atheism is a religion,) which I doubt that you're willing to do (I know that I wouldn't, lol,) then, no, it is not exactly the same thing.



The difference is that the governed cannot impose a religion upon the government, because they lack the power to pass laws.


Please don't be so obtuse. Let me elucidate. A heavily religious district votes in a very religious Representative or Senator into Congress. This Representative proceeds to vote and sponsor bills rooted in their religious beliefs. The governed have now imposed religion by proxy through the government.

Wrong.

If the representative has imposed anything, she has imposed beliefs that are couched in religious principals. She has not imposed a religion on anything.

If I pass a bill requiring that everyone join the Methodist church, or pray the Catholic Liturgy of Hours, that is obviously contrary to the Establishment Clause and it would be overturned by the Supreme Court. But if I pass a bill that is predicated on my religion, but doesn't require it? Not the same thing, and the SCOTUS has said that such does not violate the Establishment Clause (if you need an example, consider Blue Laws, key case being McGowan v. Maryland.)


At least in this case you appear to be an Originalist in regards to the Constitution, while I am of the belief that it is a "living" document. There are issues in today's world that could not have been foreseen in those days. This is why we have a Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution

While I recognize the occasional need for it, I am not a fan of a legislative court, for reasons far beyond the scope of this discussion.






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