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Opinion: The Disappearing Separation of Church and State

Nick Lovett
Staff Writer

The United States of America was one of the first nations in the entire world to develop a Constitution that would serve as the nation’s legal guideline. The document was revolutionary and fittingly so because of the fight for independence that allowed it to be drafted. In order to be passed, 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights, had to be added to appease the voters. The Bill of Rights gave citizens the right to fight oppression if they ever encountered it; it gave people the individual freedoms that were fought for in the six years of bloody struggle.

Something the Constitution did not do was also transcendent of the times in which it was written. The Constitution made the U.S. one of the only countries in the world not to have an established religion, with the ultimate goal of keeping the Church and the State two separate entities, one being able to function without the other.

The Founding Fathers did this because they knew there were already many different religions in the new nation and they assumed only more would come. Establishing a national religion would cripple the new, fragile nation, allowing it to be broken up again.

As time passed, a state religion was still not established and many more religions came over to the newly dubbed “Land of Opportunity,” effectively making it less likely for a national religion to be created. As we flash forward to the present era, post-World War II, we are now more than ever faced with the issue over whether religion should be a part of the state and vice versa. Although the government and the people hold that they are not connected, that they do not influence each other, they do.

With the advancement of technology and the advancement of human thinking, the divide between non-religious and religious people becomes greater and greater.

One of the most debated social issues in this nation, as of now, is gay marriage. Gay marriage is, in theory and in practice, no different than two heterosexual people getting married, but it is widely condemned because of the idea of two people of the same sex sharing their lives together. Although the support for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community is rising, 46 percent of adult Americans (according to a Gallup Poll) strongly oppose gay marriage. The main reason why they believe this way, according to the report, is that the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination (47 percent of those who oppose gay marriage).

The views of these people directly correlate to how they vote in elections. The people who believe homosexuality is an abomination will vote for a politician who shares the same beliefs as them. If this politician is elected, he is obligated to vote on behalf of his constituents.

After gay marriage, abortion and stem-cell research are also moral dilemmas that show a clear separation between the religious and non-religious. The majority of Americans that are against both are identified as religious and vote both down on the pretense of moral values and religion. Many in the religious sector call for the overturn of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, and also want discontinued or limited funding of stem cell research, which has made major advancements in the treatment and cure for a variety of diseases and defects.

Now, I have no issue with organized religion. Though I am not a religious person, I come from a family of devout Roman Catholics. My issues with religious people do not stem from what they believe in or how they practice, but rather from the voting decisions many of them make.

All across the world, different religions clash against each other in sometimes violent ways. In the United States of America, a land where there is no state religion, a land where there is religious freedom, I strongly believe that voters and politicians have to try their best to make sure that the government and religion truly stay separate.

It is a good sign that most of the religious impression on voters is on social issues and not issues that deal with the economy or defense, but at the same time, these social issues are still too many.

It bothers me that, in a country with the fresh stain of racism still not yet removed, citizens still vote to keep an entire group of people from doing something that most of the citizens in this country take for granted.

It bothers me that, with proper funding, cures for diseases can be found but that funding is voted against because stem cell research is going against “God’s Work.” Not to mention that the religious people that vote against abortion believe they have the right to decide what is best for others, when they would be up in arms if the government tried to put restrictions on religion.

According to the editor-in-chief of Gallup, Frank Newport, Ph.D., religion will continue to take a bigger role in society in the future. I do not believe this is good for American politics, as technology will continue to advance and the social issues will not go away.

There is a movement to put prayer back in schools because it would strengthen the morals of children and make them less likely to commit morally wrong crimes, as if there are morally right ones. I disagree entirely; I believe that prayer should stay as far away from schools and from government as possible. I believe that as long as religion and politics are linked, we, as a nation, will keep running into issues in regards to the advancement of society.

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