Church vs. State
One of the most controversial points that is being debated in America today is the argument of church vs. state. Some people strongly believe that “In God We Trust” should be removed from the dollar bill, and “One nation under God” should be removed from the pledge of allegiance, because they feel that that is like forcing a certain faith upon people in a free country. Others strongly believe that we should keep those sayings on the money and in the pledge because it’s sticking to what America’s founding fathers believed and wanted. It is evident that this topic is hotly debated, but it is not yet evident which side is right. Pros
Many Americans today, including President Obama, are pro-separating church and state. They believe, as mentioned before, that including “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill and “One nation under God” in the pledge of allegiance is forcing Christianity on people in a country that is supposedly known for having religious freedom. They believe that, if America stands for religious freedom, there shouldn’t be anything pertaining to any specific religion on anything issued by the government (i.e.- money).
President Obama is one of the biggest endorsers of separating church and state. He said, in an interview with CBN: I think it would be helpful to remember the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy but also our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn’t the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn’t want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves. It was the forbearers of Evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they didn’t want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it. Given this fact, I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community. (http://undergod.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001358) In this interview, President Obama said many things about his opinion on the separation of church and state. One of his arguments was that the most successful founders of this nation were the people that were not trying to put religion into the government. The religious people that didn’t try to put religion in the government were still able to go do missionary work in the fields, they just had no effect on the government.
Another argument that the president provided was that the Evangelical Christians of the time didn’t want religion to be included in the government because it would cause sectarianism, which, in this case, is basically forcing all of the people in a certain area into one belief. Many times, sectarianism has led to severe violence between the people of different religions. Everyone wants to be able to believe what they want to believe and worship who they want to worship, but the Evangelicals of the time believed that including a certain religion in the government would take away that freedom of religion that the people loved so much.
President Obama clearly states that America does not belong to any specific religion. He states that this nation belongs to many different religions, such as Judaism (Jews), Islamism (Muslims), Buddhism...
Cited: Carter, Stephen L. God 's Name In Vain. Basic Books, 2000. Print.
"Did the founding fathers support a separation of church and state?." ProCon.org. N.p., 28 2011. Web. 16 Dec 2012. <http://undergod.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001358>.
El-Faizy, Monique. God and Country. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, 2006. Print.
Hedges, Chris. American Fascists. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2006. Print.
Kennedy, D. James. What If America Were A Christian Nation Again?. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2003. Print.
Kramnick, Isaac, and R. Laurence Moore. The Godless Constitution. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1996. Print.
Smith, Gary Scott. Faith & The Presidency. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2006. Print.
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