A “wall of separation” between church and state

Published by Michael Buttitta on

Everyone has opinions. But everyone’s opinions are colored by countless things that have happened to them personally. People’s opinions change. And can on a whim.

They change due to experiences. They change due to age. They change due to education, or lack of education, and susceptibility to other’s opinions. They change for countless reasons. And opinions are also subject to interpretation that has zero basis in fact.

Do you practice a religion? What religion? What denomination? Why should your religion take precedence over my beliefs? Why should religious opinion take precedence over scientific logic? If you gathered a congregation from the same church or synagogue or mosque (or whatever, you pick) you will find people’s opinions and views on the exact same question in most cases will vary. Inside of a nuclear family of parents and children, opinions and views will vary, sometimes radically. To be fair, scientific evidence will also shift and alter over time.

So, there is no other way to put this: Your religion is an opinion. All Americas should be free to live their own lives based on their own religious opinions. But your religious opinion should not form the basis of anyone else’s life and the laws that govern them.

Separation of Church and State is a phrase that refers to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The phrase dates to the early days of U.S. history, and Thomas Jefferson referred to the First Amendment as creating a “wall of separation” between church and state.

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.

Therefore, religion should not color or influence laws. The founders came together, as best but imperfectly as they did, as a group of men representing as many opinions and beliefs as possible in 1776. All sides believed they were right. All sides felt they were bringing their best intentions to do GOOD to the floor for debate. And all sides realized their purpose was to find compromise, to find a middle ground that would benefit the largest amount of the common population as possible. They knew it was not “all or nothing”, or “my way or the highway” as our current politicians strive to convince us.


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