Running Head: THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE 1
The Separation of Church and State
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE 2 “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Who would have thought that a paragraph such as this would change the nations view on religion and the way religion is recognized in the public, schools and the state. To first understand the meaning, issues, and arguments that surround the separation of church and state, one must know the individual groups and ideas that influence the nation and religion. Influential groups such as, Separationist, Non Preferentialist, Accommendationlists, and Theocrats have impacted corporations, church, and the freedom of speech. First, what is the separation of church and state? It is a concept in law which national government and state is kept separate from religious institutions. Many believe more so the Christians that America was founded as a Christian nation. Christians also thought that America should be in the hands of Christians who are able to deal with moral and theological issues. The concept involved schools, courts, and regulatory commissions should also follow Christian principles. The debate over church-state separation has often focused up on the issues of government aid to schools, religious practices in the public schools, and the placement of religious symbols on public property. Looking at the bigger picture the first amendment which is: respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances, strictly limits the state’s ability to endorse or support religion, but at the same time, it provides for
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE 3 accommodations of religion by allowing all Americans to freely practice the religion of their choice without fear of discrimination or persecution. What that means in English is the first amendment allows the support of religion to an extent, with restrictions, but it also allows Americans to practice without getting in trouble by the law or government. So where is the separation with church and state? The separation came from one or more opinions’ about the law and how the subject religion should be tied in. The motivating issues which led to the issue “separation of church and state” were impacted by a number of things such as rights of the minority violated by the majority. Minorities of non-majority religions have been persecuted, socially shunned, and harassed by the majority. The state has potential to harm or disrupt the state. An example of this would be religious conviction may influence the states involvement in a war, or it can influence policies to those who stray from the churches teaching dealing with subjects such as homosexuality, and abortion decided for religious reasons, it harms those who feel they have the right to such practices. Religion may cause difficulty for debate, reason being it is impossible to contradict arguments which usually arise from faith. This grants official status and allows politicians to use religion as “argument from authority”. Last the state can harm the church. Example, the state dictates religious ceremony that the church says is wrong, or the state forces participation of religious people in some aspect of life that offends their religious convictions and offends their conscience; or the state may discriminate in the favor of the church and its members...
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