The principle of democracy that is directly applicable to this situation is Equality under the Law. George Reynolds took his case to the Supreme Court in objection that he could not fully pursue his religion. He argued that the first amendment guarantees that persons will be free from any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That no federal law could interfere with a person’s religious belief or with actions based on those beliefs. That the federal law was unconstitutional and his conviction should be overturned.
The current opinion of courts is that the First Amendment bans religion in our government to protect the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from the government. The first amendment does not say church and state should be separate since our founders understood if church and state were completely separate, our government would fall apart. 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.” The first amendment does not state that there was such a separation, but that there was a “wall of separation” which the government could not break. The misunderstood statement from Thomas Jefferson has resulted in Judges who ignore the Constitution and the original intent of the First Amendment of our Founding Fathers (Bonta). The first amendment did not state that there was such a separation, but that there was a “wall of separation” which the government could not break.
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 Development of the Freedom of Religion in Public Schools President Jefferson had written that the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution was aimed to build "a wall of separation between Church and State." This wall still stands the only matter at hand here is that in several areas the Supreme Court has modified its profiles. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…." This clause has come a long way in how our government settles with cases concerning religion. 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.
and finally power to states and people. Now the Bill of Rights protected all of these rights, but many people don’t really get what these ten amendments are all about. The first amendment was freedom of speech, press and religion. This amendment means that “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”. So that mostly means that Congress cannot make any law stating to what you can say, your religion, and with the press.
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.
This totally ignores the “Separation of Church and State” system. A society that is supposed to be free will never be completely free when one groups opinion is enforced upon it. This law can also not be selective. In a society that is free of religious opinion, there can be no laws restricting Homosexuals from being married, or better yet a Mormon having more then one wife. No matter what opinion someone holds on any issue, the government should not be able to step in on someone’s life because of religion, unless it causes harm to others physically.
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).
If this were allowed to be posted by government officials and if it influences our youth in schools in any way than by definition America will have created a state-endorsed religion which is in direct conflict with religious freedom. A state-endorsed religion is a direct violation of every American citizen’s first amendment. The first amendment states that “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” (Bill of Rights). The US Government has a duty to its people to uphold its constitutional laws that founded this country. 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.