Well, I wasn't actually going to post much tonight, as I am a little tuckered from work. But, I have had a request to discuss the seperation of church and state, and I try to grant ANY request, in as timely a fashion as I can muster. Well, my laziness is no excuse to not grant a request, so here goes.
First of all, the seperation of church and state is a legal fiction. It doesn't exist ANYWHERE in the US Constitution. Go ahead. Look it up. I'll make it easy on you and point you the First Amendment. The Founding Father's DID have a notion of keeping religion out of the hands of the FEDERAL government, but at no time did they actually even consider a strict "no religion in the government" stance. Quite the contrary, actually. There was much debate in the Constitutional Convention about what would be the state religion of the about to be formed United States of America. (The USA was not our first government. We labored under the fairly ineffectual Articles of the Confederation for, oh, about three or four years before the Consititutional Convention was convened to correct the mistakes of the Articles) One thing most of the delegates were united on was that Catholicism would NOT be the official state religion. (I say most, because there were a handful of Catholics there as delegates. No more than 10, if memory serves correctly) Ditto for Anglicanism, as many of the former English subjects had come to the Colonies to flee the Anglican Church, and IT'S excesses. So, amongst the various denominations present, which would be the state religion?
Well, I will make some pure speculation at this point, and say that the Presbyterians won. Due to the Prebyterian Church's belief that people of faith could have legitimate arguements about what Scripture meant, the Presbyterians probably sounded like the reasonable voices in that arguement. (hard to believe that a religion comprised mostly of Scotsmen could be reasonable!) And there were quite a few Presbyterians at the Convention, maybe even enough to carry the day for the Presbyterian stance. Which was probably "All Christian religions may be equally right, so why are we even fighting about it? Let's just declare ALL religions to be protected, and protect the free worship of ANY person of faith!" What do I base this speculation on? Simple. The United States of America's Federal Government is an amalgamation of the Parliamentary system of England, and the Presbyterian Church's table of organisation. The Constitution stresses local control, with local entities (cities and towns) communicating to larger entities (counties and states), which then had agreements with the largest entity (The US). This is how the Presbyterian Church is organised. Trust me. I attend a Presbyterian Church. When the method of determining doctrine and control was described, I thought I was getting a Civics 101 class.
So, anyway, there was never any attempt to eliminate religion from the government, and there was actually quite a bit of arguement about which Christian religion would be the dominant one! In the end, it was decided that individual states would make up their own minds as to which religions would be the state-sanctioned, and if citizens of that state didn't like it, they could move to another state. Actually, truth be told, that's what the FF's solution to darn near EVERY arguement! Leave it up to the states. In the case of religion, each state had the right to declare a state religion, or not, as the state decided, or as the state's voters decided. You see, it was even left up to the states to determine HOW they were going to determine IF they were going to have a state religion, and if they were, WHAT was it going to be?! I don't have the actual breakdowns handy, but I seem to remember that Georgia's state religion was Baptist, and I think Maryland was Presbyterian. I'm not sure, but I do know that several states had state-endorsed religions, AFTER THE CONSTITUTION WAS RATIFIED! Did you catch that? The Founding Fathers felt so strongly that religion HAD to be kept out of the public sector, that they even let individual states ENDORSE SPECIFIC RELIGIONS! (/sarcasm) Now, the states that endorsed a certain religion over any other religion ran into a few problems. You see, not all citizens of any state were that religion, and started to move to other states. So, the states that had state-religions decided to no longer sponsor any specific religion, just to keep the non-member citizens from going to other states! So, the Constitution UNINTENTIONALLY created the idea of no state-sponsored religion, by leaving it up to the states. The states weren't about to drive off voting (and tax-paying) citizens over something as trivial as religion, so dropped any state endorsement of any specific religion. So, there's the background on the how's and why's of the First Amendment, and it's impact on the state and the church.
Now, we'll fastforward to today. What does the First Amendment mean to us, TODAY? Well, what it means is that the Federal government is not allowed to pass ANY laws restricting the free expression of religion. By the same token, the Federal government will not SPECIFICALLY endorse any one religion over another. The "seperation of Church and State" were words used in a court decision, not words used by our Founding Fathers.
One of the ways that the "seperation of Church and State" has been misused in our society is to prevent Christians (and Christians only!) from exercising their religion anywhere NEAR a public building. This is wholly at odds with the Constitution, and the Founding Fathers intent for the Constitution. What they wanted was ANYONE (Christians, in their minds, but any other religion for practical purposes) to be able to practice their religion freely, with no repercussions from the FEDERAL government. That means that the Founding Fathers were FOR prayer in schools. They may have wanted those prayers to be Christian, but they included the possibility of those prayers being Jewish, or Muslim (although they would probably roll over in their graves over THAT one!), or Zoroastrarian, or Shinto, or Buddhist, or even Wiccan (if Wicca had existed then). You see, they wanted anyone to be able to pray in public, no matter what their religion was. So, since Christians are the VAST majority of the population of the US, they would have the most opportunities to pray in public. But, Jews and Muslims are allowed to pray in public also! Although, truth be told, Jewish and Christian prayers are kinda the same thing. But, anyway, once the Christians were denied their rights to pray in public, the Jews and Muslims were also. But that's not what "Church and State Seperatists" believe. They have only argued that CHRISTIAN prayers are forbidden, while Jewish and Muslim prayers are protected, simpy because they are not Christian.
I would also like to point out that the "seperation of Church and State" wasn't even CONSIDERED a viable thought until AFTER the advent of Dialectic Materialism. It was the DM's, and Communists in particular, who argued against Christianity, and the destruction (yes, the destruction, not the reigning in, or even controlling. The destruction of.) of any vestiges of Christianity in ANY culture. Because, Dialectic Materialims couldn't work if the "have-nots" had loyalties to anything other than the State. That meant that marriage needed to be destroyed, because spouses are more loyal to each other than the state, or even their neighbors. Gay marriage anyone? Also, the bonds between children and their parents needed to be destroyed also, as parents would rather feed their starving child than their lazy neighbor. Why do you think that the The Feminist Mystique
was written by a CPUSA member? Or why so many women think that their careers are more important than whether or not their children are raised by their parents? (The same goes for men, also, but children bond better with a stay-at-home mom than a stay-at-home dad) The big target, though, was the "opiate of the masses", or religion, Christianity in particular. Why? Because religious people, or more specifically, people of faith (no matter what faith) have a higher loyalty than to the state: to their God. So, DM, and it's attendant governments, needed to get rid of religion, and any vestige of loyalty to a higher power, since the State (or "society", since NOONE ever trusts their government) had the need of ALL of their loyalties. If a person is trying to do something because it needs to be done for whatever they are loyal to, they won't be doing what the State needs them to do.
So, in summation, the "seperation of Church and State" has been a tool by DM and it's advocates to destroy religion in America. "Seperation of Church and State" never existed, and was never envisioned by the Founding Fathers. In addition, it was a "seperation"-less America that protected Jews, when no other country would. While I am aware of the Ku Klux Klan, and the other racist organisations, they were a vocal minority, and should have been prosecuted for their illegal activities against Jews. But, trying to use the tactics of the Klan AGAINST Christians doesn't erase the evils that the WASP Klan inflicted. It only makes them worse. Because it makes the Klan look like it was right. Non-Christians have had no better friend in the world than Christian America, and Evangelical Christian Americans. Punishing them for the actions of some idiots just lets those idiots win.
Remember that the next time you get all a-twitter about some Christian having the nerve to publically proclaim their Christianity in a public building. If you want that Christian silenced, then you are next. Because after the Christians, it's the Jews. And after the Jews, it's the Muslims. And after the Muslims, it's the Buddhists. It won't even stop when it gets to the atheists. Because the atheists have argued for so long that rights come from Man, that when Man takes those rights away, they won't have any allies left to help them.
This is another topic I could go on for DAYS about, and still not say everything I wanted to say. I will probably revisit this topic in the future, maybe even soon. The next time, I will discuss whether or not ministers should be politicing from the pulpit.