Faith Based Organizations vs. the Separation of Church and State
Issues regarding the separation of church and state frequently resurface. The first time this issue was made know to American citizens was when the Supreme Court removed prayer from the public school system. Last year, the Supreme Court made another decision in regards to this same concern, but with a slight twist. In June 2000 the hot topic case of the nation was the Supreme Court’s decision to rule that, “public schools cannot let students lead stadium crowds in prayer before high school football games.” (Alpert 1)
Separation of church and state functioned as a primary concern even during Thomas Jefferson’s Presidency and remains current today. Today the headlines focus on President George W. Bush and his proposal to use faith- based organizations to provide social services to the public.
Faith-based organizations and the Separation of Church and State created one of the biggest debates since its very inception. Maintaining the separation provides a foundational premise for America. Continuous growth of the United States encourages the law for separation of church and state even further. Population growth increases diversity issues for the United States of America and prevents the nation from affirming any particular religion.
Therefore, the First Amendment to the Constitution that formulates a mandate for the separation of church and state was designed to alleviate problems. Based on citations from a website article the Christian Banner exchange, in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Conflicts arise in the interpretation of the first amendment to the Constitution when the understanding of the amendment is left to individuals and each person may develop a different perception of the implications of the amendment. Overall, the interpretation formed by individuals most is that the authors of the Constitution intended for the amendment to enable government to refrain from making decisions in regards to religion. Understandably, this interpretation of the amendment justifies itself. Possibly, the best course of action for government to take would be not to make any decisions in regards to religion.
Ideally, that means that people can worship and practice the religion of their choice. However, the original lawmakers that authored the Constitution, Preamble and the Declaration of Independence made references to God and Christian ideals throughout several national historical documents. For example, in another excerpt from the Christian Banner eXchange, the Declaration of Independence declares: “…We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that...