Church-state relations in America has been widely discussed and hotly debated. One school of thought holds that the church should be absolutely separated from the state, while another holds that the church plays a moral role in state building and its sanctity, without which the state risks falling apart. In my discussion of the church-state relations, I state that the history of church-state relations has a Constitutional basis. Next, I discuss the two schools of thought in context and how they have shaped contemporary American political thought. Finally, I argue that the two schools of thought have a common ground.
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.
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.
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.
Some examples of conflict that have occurred in America are as follows: same sex marriages, abortion, in-virto fertilization and equal rights between the sexes (The Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion, n.d). If religion were to rule our nation these issues would be illegal simply because of the Bible. One of the great things about our nation is having individual choices like the issues listed above. People shouldn’t be judged or persecuted simply because they might not have the same religious beliefs as another. There is a significant difference between government and religious morals even though both are ethical authorities.
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.
The constitution was then rewritten with God’s name removed. The issue whether or not church and state should be separate didn’t evolve until the 19th century, and today it is hot topic among both separationists and accommodationists alike. Separationists are the people who push separation of church Separationists feel that neither state nor the federal government can set up churches / aid religion; there should be absolutely no governmental funding of religious activity/displays, any praying in public school / teaching of evolution. On the opposing side, accommodationists oppose separation between church and state, interpreting the first amendment exactly as it is stated. No where in the first amendment does it say “separation of church and state .
That the federal law was unconstitutional and his conviction should be overturned. In his eyes he was not being treated fairly by the government because of what his religion believed was acceptable. He felt that multiple partner relationships should be allowed and that the United States was out of line in restricting that. The Supreme Court ruled that the case presented an obvious and compelling need to regulate a question of behavior offensive to public will. The first amendment cannot be used as a shield to protect any person against criminal behavior.
Can you blatantly ignore a religion and make sure they don’t get any government funding for their schools because of their religious status? Is it constitutional to ignore drug laws because it is a person’s religious belief to use them in their practice? In this essay I will show through the Framer’s papers, early political debates and various Supreme Court cases to show why establishment clause and free exercise clause were put into the Constitution in order to “building a wall of eternal separation between Church & State.” Historical Context To understand what the Framer’s of the Constitution thought was an appropriate relationship between a government and a religious institution, we first should look at their own writings and speeches to understand what their belief on this issue had been. It is true that like most issues brought to the table at the Constitutional Convention, the issue of the religion in government had been a thoroughly argued topic among the Framers. There is no doubt that the battle to structure the separation issue ended when the Constitutional Convention shut its doors.
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.