The Separation of Church and State
America wastes a lot of time trying to create a democracy completely absent of the moral expectations that our ancestors have put into place. Our founding fathers’ dream of establishing a country in which all people would be accepted has begun to fall. In our attempt to rid our country of a democracy contaminated with any belief in a supreme power, we have rid ourselves of many of our values and morals. Perhaps it is impossible for religion to dominate our political country, but we have misinterpreted the original intent of “separation of church and state” and taken this concept too far.
Supposedly our country is split between church and state, but examples in our government show otherwise. Former presidents end their numerous speeches with controversial phrases such as “God bless you” and “God bless America.” Even President George W. Bush states that “Some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws.”
( http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/gwb43/speeches/gwbush1.htm) Even our national currency coins the phrase “In God, we trust.” Our own Pledge of Allegiance states that we are, “one nation, under God, and indivisible,” although our attitude towards the separation of church and state proves otherwise. The next step to take is to eliminate even the slightest mention of a supernatural being.
One of the most recent controversies pertaining to the separation of church and state is the removal of the Ten Commandments monument in Alabama. Ironically, the Alabama state constitution “’invoke[s] the favor and guidance of Almighty God’” (1) Furthermore, “Art at the Supreme Court still depicts Moses holding the Ten Commandments” (2) Political agencies have failed to recognize blatant portrayals of God in our country, yet minor “infractions” have been blown out of proportion.
Let’s take a look at what our founding fathers thought:
“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 peaceable to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (Amendment I, The Constitution of the United States of America)
The above quote is the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States. In no part does our constitution mention a “separation of church and state.” What it does mention is that Congress is forbidden to tamper with the religious beliefs and practices of its people.
Separation of church and state was first mentioned in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. This letter promised that the new form of American government would not overrun the churches or their religious practices.