Should faith groups and institutions be allowed to form political parties? Should faith groups be allowed to gain influence in the workings of the government? Starting back in the early days of Plato through when our founding fathers first drafted the constitution, there started to be a sense of separation between church and state. Since the inception of the United States Constitution in 1776, the American government knew there should be a clear separation. Even with this definition of separation there have been many citizens challenge certain aspects of the First Amendment. In this essay I will lay the foundation and later present an argument on why I believe faith groups should not be allowed to enter the realm of political discourse to elect their own politicians to form political parties and gain influence in the workings of our government.
Let’s start by looking back in time at some earlier forms of government to review historical philosophy to see if faith or faith groups were a part of the governance of its citizens.
Plato felt to be an effective ruler one had to be a philosopher king over any city-state. His political philosophy was that moral and spiritual dimension was the life blood of any good society. Plato also felt that cities without virtue were rotten and humans without souls were hollow. Plato’s philosopher king form of government incorporated a faith based leadership which was similar to a dictatorship. Some philosophers felt that this form of government later lead to leaders of the world like Adolf Hitler.
As we move into the Aristotle era, faith started to make a small separation from the government rule in Aristotelianism. Aristotle felt that there were many different forms of government for many different reasons. It was almost like an experiment of trial and error to see what best fit each city and state. He also felt that government politics was the most authoritative activity for each city and state because its end included the end of all other activities. Aristotle’s take on religion was that it is a civic function and subordinate to any politics or political rulers. Faith was an important part of Aristotelianism, just not at the top of all things.
Next as we move into the John Locke era of government we start to see a clear separation between church and state. Locke’s liberalistic nature form of political orientation was one that favored social progress by changing laws and not by the rule of faith. He believed that all people had the right to life, liberty and property. In 1689, in one of Locke’s writings published in a letter called “A Letter Concerning Toleration”, he criticized the brutal oppression of the government run Anglican Church of England. This form of government required every citizen in England to attend the government run churches. The dissenters who opposed such law were either persecuted or killed. Locke argued for toleration and that there should be a clear separation...