Separation Of Church & State Essay

1816 words - 8 pages

There’s a time and a place for everything. Everyone has heard this or said this once in their lives, but is it true? Is there a place for everything? Should we divide our lives into sections where we are allowed to do only previously approved activities? Who’s to say there is a place for prayer, and a place for worship? Who’s to say that at anytime, and anyplace, one cannot simply kneel down and pray? Separation of church and state is supposed to say that we cannot do such things. That we cannot combine religion and school, or religion and politics. Although there is a technical separation of church and state, can we really ever separate them, and have we ever truly separated them?
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In the 1530s, Pope Clement VII wouldn’t annul Henry VIII’s marriage, causing Henry VIII to break from the Catholic Church. Later making a different church the official church of England. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 states: Religion, mortality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged” (Forbes,P.13) Showing that in 1787, although America was established in 1766, there was quite a bit of favor towards continuing the involvement of the church in the government. The concept of the separation of church and state is credited to many people. One being John Locke, who was a popular philosopher from England in the late 1600’s. Locke had many views and opinions on the freedom to do what you want. Like the freedom of speech, religion, etc. His main attribute, though, was that he was an avid believer in the freedom of conscience; that the government had no business dictating people’s consciences. His opinions helped him become one of the most prominent influences on the constitution. Letters to Edward Livingston, a statesman and later a congressman, were sent to support his views of separation. Livingston was pro-separation, along with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, upon election, said “What communities did and how they worshipped were not federal affairs.” (Forbes P.16/17) Then there was Alexis de Tocqueville, a French philosopher, stated “It is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other” after observing Americans and how the treated liberty and vibrant faith. Tocqueville’s observations lead to many people revolting and refusing to separate their faith from their government. Many states took much more convincing to get rid of their official state church. Causing people to question why they came to America in the first place. Many new Americans had left their old countries to flee the Religious discrimination there, and with this new regulation, it was hard for many to comprehend what to do next. Of course, after much time, they were made to understand what the law really meant.
There are many people who think that the separation of church and state was the best thing to ever happen to America, so to speak. There are organizations who dedicate all their time and money to keeping Religion out of schools. Organizations like AU, which stands for Americans United. An organization that ‘calls people to war’. Their “statement of faith” is “we are a nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.” They say that they fight to keep the constitution as it is; that they have successfully opposed every proposed constitutional amendment since the early 1960’s. Americans United is an organization that tries their very hardest to keep mandated prayer or worship out of schools, but they seem to have lost their ways a little....

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