“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The United States is unique in that our founders saw fit to memorialize in our First Amendment to the Constitution religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
Today we hear rumblings of the few to change what our founders intended by establishing a religion in states. They admit that the founders rejected the establishment of a national religion and rightfully so but they insist that the states were left free to decide on their own whether or not to have a named religion in a state if a state chooses to do so.
This idea is dangerous, for it would encourage religious discrimination in that particular state if they chose to name a religion for that state.
James Madison warned “that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish with the same ease, any particular sect of Christianity in exclusion of other sects.” He added paraphrasing him here, that they would therefore claim that only they would have THE ANSWER.
Madison and Jefferson believed in the absolute separation of church and state. Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists stated that in ratifying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion,”Thus building a wall of separation of church and state.
If a state was allowed to establish a religion in their state who is to say that they would not pass laws which would make the free exercise of another religion impossible.
When the original colonists came to America, many of them came for religious freedom; these included Puritans, Separatists, Ana-Baptists, Quakers and many others. There were many instances of those who had suffered from religious persecution, inflicting on others of a different fate the same type of intolerance that they had suffered from. This is why, the very first sentence of our Bill of Rights is about the freedom of religion.
We should have the freedom to believe as we want to and the freedom to not believe if we so wish. In our country’s history we have seen religious discrimination when it comes to what religion you practice.
Let us look to the fact that no Catholic had been elected until John F. Kennedy and in fact no Catholic had even been nominated for President until Al Smith of New York had been nominated.
As John F. Kennedy said in his famous speech in Houston, their should be an absolute separation of church and state. His wish was that we would come to the day when it did not matter what religious background you had, whether you were a Quaker or were Jewish. This should be a goal that we all share.
When a President is sworn in, he is sworn in on a Bible, but he does not swear to uphold God’s Laws from the Bible. He or she swears to uphold the Constitution of the United States. John F. Kennedy felt it necessary to explain to all Americans that his allegiance was not to the Pope but to the Constitution.
Any State religion would endanger what tolerance we have for others of different faiths. What we should be doing is to encourage tolerance of all faiths and beliefs as long as that person swears to uphold the Constitution.
The Supreme Court’s decisions on school prayer, abortion and financial aid to religious groups has put a heavy strain on our communities because those decisions have been at odds with traditions.
These issues are emotionally charged with each side swearing that they have right on their side. It is my hope that we talk to one another about our differences on the issues of school prayer and abortion so that we may grow to understand each other better. What has happened is that the opposite has occurred, we are no longer talking to one another but rather yelling over each other.
It may be really hard to understand if for your whole life you have experienced prayers at public events, and now you can’t do that. I would hope that consideration would be felt for those who used to be forced to be part of the prayer experience but did not hold or practice the religion that the prayer came from. It used to bother those who had no belief in God to have to be part of that prayer experience.
Abortion is even more of an emotionally charged issue that people vehemently disagree on. But still, we should respect the law of the land, until or unless that law is changed. It is fine to disagree without being violent. Now we are seeing efforts to make abortions impossible to be performed without having addressed or change the current Supreme Court decision.
You have people who in the case of abortions believe that God’s laws are superior to man’s laws. We do not do any good to the fabric of what constitutes as our nation and our laws if we in essence are attempting to nullify federal law. The Full Faith and Credit section of the Constitution require one state to honor the laws of another state and our Constitution requires us to honor the Supreme Court’s decision as being the final authority on what is Constitutional.
We are seeing a tyranny of the minority exercise coercion and threats and physical harm to women who only seek to have independence over their own bodies. If you claim to be a conservative how can you claim to be one if you are attempting to force a women to do something different than what should be a decision between a women and her doctor. It is the ultimate of governmental intrusion when the state seeks to mandate actions or disallow what is lawful in the privacy of ones home.