Separation of church and state is a myth

The debate over separation of church and state has reared its head again. Two Florida school officials, recently issued a prayer before a school luncheon and are now the target of a civil lawsuit. The two Pace High School official–Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman–are facing up to six months behind bars for violating a decree that prohibits school employees from endorsing religion.

Surely, legal battles over violations of separation of church and state are nothing new. However, in this country elected officials routinely open their day with prayer. In fact, Idaho Senator Nicole LaFavour’s blog site references how important it is for members to begin their day with prayer. Senator LaFavour speaks on her recent experience leading the Senate floor in an invocation that is more inclusive of other religions.

Also, there is a Senate chaplain, whose duties include everything from meeting with members on their personal moral issues to teaching a Senate Bible study group. If the Americans elected to office have the freedom to practice their faith openly in the workplace, how can we the people be subjected to lawsuits meant to prohibit our expression of faith?

The Senate chaplain contends that while the Constitution clearly calls for a separation of church and state, it does not imply a separation of God and state. This statement is a great sound bite for a Web site, but it can be easily seen with a hypocritical view from the American public, however. A recently filed lawsuit against the Kentucky Baptist Home for Children will be allowed to proceed in court. The argument made by the ACLU is that taxpayers have the right to challenge the state’s decision to fund this and any other “faith-based” institution.

There are claims that military chaplains should be banned because their salaries and all ministry related activities are funded by the U.S. government. Most would contend that soldiers in the U.S. military have one of the toughest jobs around. And many would argue that a military chaplain is not a mere luxury, but a necessity for over-extended and over-stressed soldiers. This point rages on for debate, yet our Senate members can openly benefit from the services of a Senate chaplain. Is this not contradictory?

As Christians, we are subject to the laws of God (Romans 13). We are to submit to the governing authorities because apart from God there is no governing authority. Therefore, under God’s authority laws are established and rules are set in place. It is expected that citizens of any nation obey their laws and their elected officials because according to God’s plan, those in leadership are put in place by him to lead. This ties directly into the “separation of church and state” theory because it clearly contradicts the intended law of God.

Ironically, just as God never directed us to live apart from his authority, neither did the authors of the Constitution. The founding fathers petitioned for religious freedom, not freedom from religion. God called for nations to stand in line with his supreme judgment and govern according to his perfect will. As Senate members appreciate the need to keep God first in their lives, they are allowing the everyday American to fight for that right. This debate continues to grow and the nation is led astray by people not willing to stand up and reclaim their God-given right to live in a country governed according to the word of God, thereby perpetuating the myth of separation of church and state.

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  1. brisonc3 said:

    I would purport to agree with you since what the Constitution actually prohibits is the ESTABLISHMENT of a “Church of the United States” just as Britain had a “Church of England” which all Kings were required to be a part of and The Bishops of the “Church of England” actually had official, political power. How, in any way, does this compare with the setup in the United States? It doesn’t. We don’t have a “Church of the United States” and no President or Senator is required to be a part of any church to hold office, although there seems to be a desire of a majority of the citizenry that having a belief in God and a humility that there is a power higher than the presidency that determines what is just and unjust, is desireable. This does not make the US a theocracy or make governement officials officers of any particular church or religion. This is how it should be. Yes, the Catholic church has let those in government, who claim to be Catholic, know when they are straying from Church teachings and should get in line with them. However, membership in the Catholic church, or in any church, is voluntary and if the politician wishes to break from church doctrine, the church, as a private institution can cut ties with the government official or vice versa. Catholic politicians(like the kerry’s and the Kennedy’s”) have no claim to the notion that the Catholic church is trying to control their lives or their politics since the Kerry’s or Kennedy’s don’t have a “right” to belong to any church or organization for which they don’t agree to abide by their rules and doctrines. This is hardly the behavior of a THEOCRACY, but more of a true democracy.

    September 19, 2009
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  2. bobbydux said:

    It’s generally accepted that the Establishment clause forbids the preferential treatment of one religion over another. Any preferential treatment by a Government organization can be viewed as the promotion of one religion over another. Jefferson advocated freedom of religion outside of State institutions; this is the essence of his wall between Church and State. Even President Kennedy stated: “I Believe in an America Where the Separation of Church and State is Absolute”. If we allow Christian prayers in schools then we must allow Islamic prayers, Hindu prayers, Buddhist prayers,… I think there is a lot of sense in Jefferson’s original foresight and we would be wise to enforce it.

    October 5, 2009
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  3. brisonc3 said:

    yes, but allowing Christian prayer in public places is not “preference” if indeed other religions are allowed to share in participation. The problem is most other religions named, Buddhism, Islam, Hindu are not evangelistic religions that seek to “go and tell” others about God. Other religions simply do not wish to take part in the public expression of their doctrine and their God. Christians do. Indeed, Government does need to be “neutral” in favoratism of doctrins, but not only between one religion vs. another but also it isn’t to favor non-religion or anti-religion over religion. To show hostility to religion in government is prohibited just as much as favoratism. This is why allowing religious expression, even in public places fulfills the “neutrality” mandate. Also remember, in the time of Jefferson, Congressional prayers were instituted with an appointed chaplain. If we have “strict separation” this would not be possible. We also have a “National Cathedral” in Washington DC. Again, does not seem to violate establishment. We have religious figures and sayings engraved on Government buildings. These don’t appear to violate Establishment. We have official government holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving. These don’t violate establishment. As for Jefferson, he was one man among many at the founding of our government and had an opinion and a view of how much mingling religion and government should have, but he was just one voice of many. Many of his contemporaries had a different view and the states played out that diversity of view among the citizens with some having great participation by religion in Govt. than others. The current view of Strict Separation attributed to Jefferson actually only came into vogue with specific supreme court cases in the 60s that looked to Jefferson, and it appears only Jefferson, to speak to what the Establishment clause meant not to mention failed to take into account the history of 2 centuries that showed many examples of Government and religion co-existing without violating establishment. I also agree with JFK and his quote, and there has yet to be an established church of the USA so STRICT SEPARATION had indeed been practiced. However if there had been a true strict separation within politics, Martin Luther King Jr. would have been shouted down by the very people who claim to support separation. After all, with MLK being a Baptist Minister, he was leading a religious crusade for the rights of African American. Would not have Jefferson have found this troubling? “What business does a Negro Baptist Pastor have telling us how to live?” Worship of Jeffersonianism on Church and State interpretation could have been used to argue that this was a religious movement(just like many abortions rights activists say about the pro-life movement) and therefore has no place in government debate. So be careful what you wish for when it comes to “strict separation”.

    October 7, 2009
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