George W. Bush's Faith Based Initiative and the Separation of Church and State Clause Nowhere in the U.S constitution or any other official documents does it say that there must be strict “separation of church and state”. This clause was used by Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut on January 1, 1802 (Truthwalk 1). After being revised six times by one of our founding fathers, James Madision, the first amendment now states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." (Parsons 40). Did the fore fathers intend the first amendment to keep religion out of government, or did they want to create a law that stated religion was a free choice moreover preventing the government from forcing one religion upon the people of America. When hearing the phrase “separation of church and state” one thinks of controversy.
If the US Government allows government building to post the Ten Commandment it loses its neutrality on religion because it will have to choose a version of the Ten Commandments that it will display, violating right of Americans. The promotion of a state-endorsed religion goes against everything in which what this country was founded on.
But, this principle is often referred to the freedom of religion in the First Amendment. The First Amendment prohibits the creation of a national religion, but not necessarily the separation of church and state. The true purpose of the First Amendment was to forbid the federal government from establishing a national church, like the British did. The amendment recognizes a “differentiation between the church and the government, it does not mean that they could not cooperate with each other”, said best by Tomas Jefferson. The government is prohibited from supporting or endorsing any religion, or promoting one at the expense of another.
Times are changing and America is no longer predominantly white, Christians. In order for America to remain the melting pot we are all so proud of, we must accommodate all beliefs. A separation between church and state is necessary if America wants to give all of its citizens their religious rights. The First Amendment gives its citizens the freedom of religion, not the freedom to only practice the beliefs instated by Christianity: “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 peaceable to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Amendment I, The Constitution of the United States of America) Although this amendment does not specifically state that the government can have no religious influence, it does state that no citizen’s religious practices should be regulated by the government. ... ... middle of paper ... ...First Amendment right of religious freedom applies not only to white, Christians, but to all ethnicities and religions.
The Establishment Clause generally means that government CANNOT authorize a church, pass laws that aid or favor one religion over another, pass laws that favor religious belief over non belief, and force a person to profess a belief. In all, government must stay neutral when it comes to religion and cannot be entangled with any religion. "…..or prohibit the free exercise of thereof." This is the second religion clause. It is the Free Exercise Clause.
Separation of Church and State," is an explanation of why something works or happens the way it does, it came from different parts of the constitution which are found mostly in the first and fourteenth change. The first amendment states 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 ("U.S. Constitution - Amendment 1 - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net," n.d.). All this is simply saying is that congress cannot exercise any law that goes against the freedom of others. Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another.
If we fail in our school policies and classrooms to model and to teach how to live with differences, we endanger our experiment in religious liberty and our unity as a nation. According to the First Amendment of the Constitution, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (usconstitution.net). The writers of the Constitution made it an important point in protecting freedom and religion. The writers then even stressed the importance of being able to be in any religion that suited a person. “The First Amendment of the Constitution removes government from the realm of religious belief and practice so that the state can neither subvert nor manipulate religion to serve secular, public ends” (Keynes and Miller 177).
However, Jefferson thought that it was not enough to have a Constitutional provision that debars Congress from establishing a religion for all; it was equally important to separate the Church from the state to allow Religious Freedom, so that each and every one will practice their religions freely without government restrictions. Thus, he opposed the interference of the state in religious practices. Secondly, Jefferson argued that if the state was allowed to interfere with the affairs of the church it will give the government the power to persecute those who oppose its policies. The man, whose ideas and ideals have been shaped by experience and practice,... ... middle of paper ... ...ality and virtue of the state. In summary, I have stated the Constitutional basis with respect to the history of church-state relation in America.
The public at large has varying responses to this highly debated topic involving the Establishment of Religion Clause. The Establishment of Religion Clause was first stated in the First Amendment of the United State Constitution. The Establishment of Religion Clause was brought into effect when Thomas Jefferson and James Maddison led a fight against the Virginia’s legislative body’s attempt to renew Virginia’s tax levy for the support of the established church. Maddison argued that true religion did not need the support of law, that no person, believer or non-believer, should be taxed to support a religious institution of any kind when he wrote Memorial and Remonstrance against the law. In this piece of work written by James Maddison he continues to express his opinion that the best interest of society required that minds of men always be wholly free; and that cruel persecutions were the inevitable result of government-established religions.
This amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There is another reference to religion in Article 6, Section 3. This clause states "the United States and 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" (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html). For the purpose of this paper I am going to focus on the establishment of religion above mentioned in the First Amendment. The influence of religion on humankind can be traced back to the first records of history.