Separation of Church and State
“…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church [and] state.” These words, spoken by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, reassured the nation of his support of the First Amendment. The wall Thomas Jefferson illustrates shows the people that our nation’s government will not act against a body of people for their religious tendencies. This statement in the amendment, which the Danbury Baptist Association clarifies as separation between church and state, promotes the positive growth of religion while preserving individual freedoms. By allowing a unilateral practice of religion, the government preserves the people the freedom to express his or her own beliefs. Separation of church and state is rapidly becoming an issue in the school system because faculty and students have been abusing their rights under the First Amendment. Although the First Amendment allows one the freedom to practice whatever religion they choose, choosing when to practice their religion is what effects the purpose of separation of church and state. I firmly support Thomas Jefferson’s position that there is a wall of separation between church and state and that the government provides an equal balance of the two within the public school system.
The Danbury Baptist Association wrote to Jefferson pleading to keep church and state separate. They claimed that even though “the government is not specific…the power of the government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.” The Danbury Baptists also implied that one religion was not greater than another and that society and churches did not, still and do not, coexist within each other. Furthermore, one could assume that because churches...
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