Today we still hear the rumblings and the clamor from Conservative Christian fundamentalists as they hope to establish Christianity as a state religion. This idea is dangerous and it is against the belief of the founders of the Constitution who believed it was necessary to erect a wall between church and state.
An example of how we are changing is the Bush initiative which established the principle that it was alright for our government to give nondiscriminatory aid to religiously backed organizations.
The former chief justice to the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist spoke of this in 1985, in the “Wallace v. Jaffe,” case. He claimed that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause did not require neutrality between religion and irreligion on this issue. Mark Levin in “Liberty and Tyranny,” claimed “that is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build a ‘wall of separation’ that was constitutionalized in Everson.
“Everson v. Board of Education, you may not recall, held that “No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions.”
These efforts to support religion in any way benign or not were held by the founders to be wrong when you read their comments on religion. Government must maintain its neutrality and not show any favoritism for one religion or another nor one religious charity over another. If you assist one, then you should assist them all. This type of action is on its face against the spirit of religious neutrality.
“It is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join, and from which they can derive no benefit, for remedy thereof and that equal liberty as well as religious as civil may be universally extended to all the good people of this commonwealth.” George Mason-The Virginia Declaration of Rights. These were the wise words of one of our founders of our independence.
Any financial assistance is a step down the slippery slope of overstepping the separation of church and state.
We see other current examples of the problems that religion may cause as the roar of religious persecution is rearing its ugly head with Islamaphobia now being heard in certain quarters.
Again, in Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny,” he quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, in contrasting Christianity to Islam in a negative way, claiming that Christianity “imposes no point of faith.” while implying that Islam does.
We do not have a theocracy, a state governed by religious law, and this would be wrong if the United States were a Christian state, a Jewish state or a country based on the laws of the Koran. This is why it is so important to maintain the wall of separation so that our country is still a place where people of all faith and people who do not have a religion are welcome.
Religion has been the bain of man when it comes to what were the causes of most of our wars. It is best to keep religion out of politics and to practice tolerance for those of other faiths and tolerance for those who do not believe in God.
Tom Paine said in “The Rights of Man,” 1792, that “persecution is not an original feature in any religion but it is always the strongest marked feature of all religions established by law.”
Now we hear echoes of past intolerance from those who would claim that we are at war with Islam. We of the Judeo Christian faith know that three religions share Abraham as a parent of each religion. War nor intolerance nor the persecution of those who believe differently will ever answer or establish which sect of faith has the answer to anything.
Let us practice tolerance and love, to all, to all citizens who may or not believe in God. Our laws come from faith based beliefs, customs and traditions as well as English Common Law. Our leaders swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and we should appreciate that fact and maintain our separation between church and state so that we may indeed enjoy the blessings of liberty and thereby have the freedom of religion that our founders established for us all.