#39 - The "separation of church and state"
Numerous cases have appeared in the news concerning the "separation of church and state" and what the Constitution requires on this matter. Items including the presidential campaigns, prayer in schools, prayers at high school football games, the house chaplain, and even the census.
We listen and hear many of the liberals declaring that the constitution requires a clear separation of state and the church. Yet we watch the campaigns and see that it depends on whether the church leaders support your view in depending whether politics and church should be separated.
George W. Bush speaks to Bob Jones University as a presidential candidate and is condemned by the democrats because he did not attack their racial policies or the fact they disagree with Catholic church beliefs. But did anyone notice that actually two presidential candidates spoke at Bob Jones? The other was a black man, Alan Keyes. So much for the theory Bob Jones University is opposed to all blacks. On the issue of disagreements with Catholics, the media would have us believe that the catholics are open to all Christians and the Baptists a closed sect. But which is really closed? The Baptists require you to be immersed in when baptized to join. The Catholics require you to be a Catholic to take part in the Holy Eucharist (Communion or Last Supper sacrament). I am a member of the United Methodist church and as long as you have professed your faith in Jesus you are welcome you join us in communion. I have received communion in the United Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, and attended Mass in the Catholic church, but the Catholic rules said I cannot receive the sacrament there. So who is the open religion? Each has its rules limiting people in some way.
The House of Representatives has been fighting over who will be their new chaplain. They claim they need a chaplain to tend to the spiritual needs of the members. They have been fighting should the new one be protestant or Catholic. To hear them, you would think their are no churches or ministers in DC. There are ministers and churches of any denomination or faith you would want located in the DC area.
The fights continue to be can prayer be said or led in schools, or can the Bible be taught. Even the question of whether we should allow students to lead a prayer at graduation or football games is fought. Isn't it a little odd that our lawmakers in DC, all adults, think they need their own personal chaplain, but yet they fight the high school students praying much less having a school chaplain. Who are the ones learning and are the young and impressionable?
The census is going on right now. Even though we hear that the constitution requires " the separation of church and state", we once again find that rules only applies when it is the convenience of government. In the case of the census the state (the government) decided one way to encourage people to be counted was to push it through the church. Brochures were printed by the government and given to churches to put in the Sunday bulletins telling you the government needed your help. Ministers and rabbis were sent sample sermons to preach about the census. In Georgia the Governor a week ago encourages all churches to push the census. Is this "separation of church and state". Seems to me that the state is involving itself in the church.
On the campaign trail, Republicans are assailed for associating with Christians. They are told they need to remember that church and state are require to be separate. Yet, where do we see Al Gore and other liberals getting up and speaking on Sunday morning and telling groups that they have to support them. In church in the pulpit. Isn't that mixing church and politics?
It appears that groups are yelling that the Constitution requires that church and state must be separate when it is not their view of politics or religion or when it does not help the government. Yet when the government thinks the church can help it, no longer is there any question of separation of church and state.
Since practically everyone knows that the Constitution requires "the separation of church and state", it may be time for everyone to go back and reread the Constitution. No where does it use the that phrase. That was a phrase Jefferson came up with years later to summarize and try to put simply what the Constitution says. So what does it say? The first amendment to the Constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" So what it really says is that Congress will not try to run the church. yet nowhere does it say that the church cannot try to influence the government. It does not say anything about students saying or leading prayers in public schools. What was the intent? That the US not be like Great Britain where the government ran and runs the official church. The Queen (or King) of Great Britain is head of the Church of England. To have been involved politically in the colonies meant you had to belong to the Church of England. The Church of England was formed when the King got mad at the Pope and formed his own church. The authors of our Bill of Rights intended to not allow that to happen again.
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