December 27, 2007

Seperation of Church and State

Our government is of the people and a church is a community of people. So you have the curch and state as the same subset of people. There is going to be overlap. So seperation is nigh impossible as a concept.

Thomas Jefferson made clear that the purpose of the First Amendment was to establish a "wall of separation" between Church and State in order to protect individuals' right of conscience. So it was to protect the religion from government.

It is important as a society to have limits on behavior. It is important that a State has limits on behavior as well. When it comes to religion the limits are set up (usually) by preternatural authority. Example being the 10 commandments. or the 613 Mitzva of the Torah. or the 1500+ Fatwa of Islam. So Divinely inspired and humanly inforced by people whom are both participants in religion and state.

So what happens when a limit on behavior by the state is in direct conflict with a limit on behavior in a religion? Anything from debate to war will occur.


ronnwaters said...


I think something that is implied in the "Freedom OF Religion" clause is the freedom FROM religion.
Jefferson was afraid we would have a State-Religion similar to the Church of England. This clause allows everyone to pick their own brand/style of faith. This is a good thing.
I have an idiot-brother in law and his view christianity would make sharia look like a girls gone wild video (albeit with veils and machine guns, but i digress).
Also, when I was at Flight School in Alabama, I got a lot of crap from my baptist "friends" because I was a catholic and didn't want to be a mason. (I explained that i didn't need to join a secret society to drink whisky and smoke cigars with my friends without my wife finding out)
I think we need a lot more separation between church and state. Our current administration is, in my opinion, much too beholden to the religious right. These people are a bunch of fans of diversity. They are just as cuddly and loving as the taliban.
After W's first inauguration, the president of the Baptist coalition said in an interview on NPR "George Bush is gonna' have to dance with the one who brung him". Over the past 7 years, I think he has. That scares me.
There seems to be very little love of Christ in how they do things. The deference paid to "Faith Based Initiatives" is alarming. Remember, these are the same people that dinosaur bones were hidden by God to "confound the unbelievers".
While I do want my leaders to subscribe to some sort of moral code, I want more reason-based running of how things work. I don't want my trash pick up to be determined by the movement of the holy spirit.
I think separation allows each to be holy.

Lee said...

Good thing you didnt join. Becuase, you wouldnt be a catholic anymore..

The Church has imposed the penalty of excommunication on Catholics who become Freemasons in the 1917 code of canon law (canon 2335), and it is implicit in the 1983 code (canon 1374).

- Rob said...

I haven't thoroughly researched this, but it is probably impossible to make ANY decision without being in direct conflict of someone's view of some religion. It is too easy to twist (uh, I mean interpret?) religious thought to match just about any point of view.

As a result, it seems very important to me that our political leaders match our society's morals in their decision making without necessarily matching the decisions to a religious point of view.

The problem there is that it is as difficult to determine our society's morals (and as easy to "interpret" polls of those morals) as it is to definitively interpret religious morals.

I guess the best that we can do is to gauge the moral compass of the leaders that we elect and then let them do their jobs of decision making. If they don't meet the standards that we expected, then we further have to be ready to press the process of removing them from office.

shoo said...

While the constitution prevents the Federal government from establishing a religion, there is no such restriction on states except as specified in their constitutions. In other words, a state could declare a state religion, and everyone in that state could have to be a member or leave the state. Fortunately, all states seem to have seen the wisdom of religious freedom.

Bush's alleged allegiance to the evangelicals doesn't bother me at all. I mean, what has he really done for them other than the faith-based initiatives thing?