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.
The Catholic Church The Catholic Church in the 20th Century underwent tremendous change, most significantly as a result of the Second Vatican Council. This Council created an atmosphere of reform within the leading theologians and the hierarchy of the Church. Consequently, when Pope Paul VI released his encyclical Humanae Vitae, to many of the reformers it seemed to contradict the sentiment of the Council. At the same time, though, there was a movement afoot to radically change the power structure of the Church. Led by the same liberal theologians who took offense to the pro-life policies laid out in Humanae Vitae, the aim was to transition the Church from an authoritarian power structure to a more democratic model.
For example, within schools the Supreme Court in the early sixties ruled against mandatory worship in public schools. Some believe the Court “kicked God out of the schools” but this was not the case. Instead it governed that neither politicians nor school officials, but parents, have the right to decide the religious teaching their child receives. Today, many religious leaders in America support the guaranteed separation of church and state established and protected by the Constitution. They say they do not want to see any religion favored by the government.
Retrieved May 30, 2010, from The Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1204/p02s02-usgn.html THE U.S. GOVERNMENT vs INDIVIDUAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE U.S. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2010, from Religious Tolerance: www.religioustolerance.org/govt_con.htm
They risked their lives to come to a land where government would stay out of their spiritual lives. Today, hundreds of years later, our nation has yet to make this dream a reality. Government threatens the policy of separation of church and state in schools everyday. School sanctioned religiously based organizations, prayer in school, and President George W. Bush's faith based educational plans defy this American ideal. The government's support of religion in school is unconstitutional, unethical, and degrading.
Marty, Martin E. "The clamor over Columbus." Christian History, 1992, Volume 11 Issue 3, p17. Riga, Peter J. "Columbus, the Church, and the Indians: A reflection." Journal of Religious Thought, Winter 92/Spring 93, Volume 49 Issue 2, p36.
The First Congress, which passed this Amendment in 1789, intended to prohibit the establishment of a national religion. In fact, they didn't mind the establishment of “official” religions by states. At the start of the American Revolution, nine of the thirteen colonies had established religions, so obviously no one was opposed to the coupling of church and state. Unfortunately, this separation talk has been so furiously pounded into our heads, that a picture is painted falsely into our heads; a picture of a roomful of godless atheists, agnostics, and deists framing our Constitution in 178... ... middle of paper ... ...efore Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court made countless decisions regarding religion that directly contradict the past 50 years of religious oppression. Some of these decisions refer to the U.S. as a Christian country.
In January 2001, a full five and a half years after they were last seen, the bodies of the Murray-O’Hairs were finally found on a sprawling ranch near the little town of Camp Wood, Tex.) The Supreme Court's previous last major school-prayer ruling was announced in 1992, and barred clergy-led prayers at public school graduation ceremonies. "The Constitution forbids the state to exact religious conformity from a student as the price of attending her own high school graduation," the court said then. Many viewed the ruling as a strong reaffirmation of the highest court's 1962 decision banning organized, officially sponsored prayers from public schools. However, in 1993, the justices refused to review a federal appeals court ruling in a Texas case that allowed student-led prayers at graduation ceremonies.
Christian Science Monitor 3 June 1998: 9-10. Van Der Werf Selgino, Martin. "Activist Seeks Probe Into Logo Apparel Sales." Chronicle of Higher Education 20 April 2001: A 46-47.
Daniel M. Shea. New York: Worth Publishers, Inc., 1999 Lampman, Jane. “New Scrutiny of role of religion in Bush’s policies.” The Christian Science Monitor 17 March 2003: A1+ Fineman, Howard. “Bush and God.” Newsweek 10 March 2003: 76-84. “Silent Evangelical Support of Bush’s Proposed War Against Iraq.” Morning Edition.