Monday, March 06, 2006

Separation of Church and State Be Damned!

Just when you think that the Christian Right can’t get any more drunk with power comes word — honest to God — that a state legislature is considering a bill that would turn Christianity into its official “majority” religion.

Other aspects of this bill would recognize “a Christian god,” and “protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs.”

Want more? The measure also recognizes that “a greater power exists,” and that only Christianity would receive “justified recognition.”

So, which of the 50 states is considering making Christianity it’s official state-sanctioned religion?

Missouri. The bill, House Concurrent Resolution 13 (as if that number 13 isn’t ironic enough), is now pending.


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Kaylor said...

Thanks for addressing this issue. As a Missourian I found it greatly distressing. Here is my take on the issue over at Ethics Daily: Majority Rules

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Clark said...

The Tenth Amendment puts into force the federalist principles requiring that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, be reserved to the States respectively, or to the people". This in effect makes the First amendment’s prohibition of the United States Congress making laws establishing a religion to then allow individual States or anyone else for that matter, to establish their own official religion if they would like or each State to enact a similar laws prohibiting an established religion within their respective State.

"Respecting an establishment of religion" – This precise phrasing is intended to prohibit laws that set up a national church and also laws that might forbid established churches at the state level. We therefore can only conclude that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect religious freedom and the rights of the individual States in religious matters and each State can adopt or prohibit an official religion within their own state.
In the year 1702 all 13 American colonies had some form of state-supported religion. When the First amendment was being debated in Congress, some of the individual states had already established an official State religion. The authors of the First Amendment wanted to allow individual States to be able to establish or not to establish a state religion. The Founding Fathers did not, however, want the Federal government establishing a National religion that might interfere with the individual states.

The states eventually disestablished their established churches. Official state supported religion ended in the United States after 1877 when the Congregationalist State of New Hampshire’s Constitution was altered to no longer require that their governor, every member of the Senate and House of Representatives to be of the Protestant religion.

The First Amendment makes clear its unique restraint that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...." but clearly implies that individual states should not be so restricted. Thus, any state may pass laws making reference a specific religious sect or to God (as they all now do). “Plainly, many of the State Constitutions have chosen to specifically reference God (or the equivalent) rather than adopting a more neutral approach found in the 1st Amendment. How the States courts have construed these differences might shed light on why God was specifically referenced and its import on the broader question of including God in our Pledge." –Grant Marylander J.D. —. Therefore, should an individual state choose to reference God or a supreme being within the context of their government or should state supreme court or a county courthouse want to publicly display the Ten Commandments as an expression of the inseparable basis of Judeo-Christian tradition on the American legal system, our federal Constitution reserves that right to the states, and to the people.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Greg Spring said...

Two quick follow up points by us at Holier Than Thou:

1) We suggest everybody with an interest in this issue go visit Kaylor's "Majority Rules" -- he provides a very personal, intimate and thoughful view on this matter.

2) And in response to Clark, we can only add that it is our ferverant belief that when politics and religion collide -- it is the religion that suffers far more than the politics.

Therefore, it is not our belief that church and state should be kept apart simply because it is somewhere in the Constitution (after all, that same Constitution managed to endorse slavery for a good number of years), but because mixing the two is bad for public policy, and bad for religion.

This site is devoted to detailing the failings of those who look to take personal matters of faith out of their homes and their churches and into the political arena: where they then claim that their religious belief has somehow placed them on a higher level than the rest of us -- and therefore, have a God-given right to govern us.

Yet every day we at Holier Than Thou are confronted with proof that those who claim this mantle of religious superiority are just as flawed as the rest of us -- and clearly not deserving of their self-claimed, self-righteous status.

Until we at Holier Than Thou run out of things to write about, we suggest that the religious keep their faith and politics separate. After all, voters can always decide to remove all religious influences in their political institutions at the ballot box. But once a religion gets tainted with the undue influence of politics, there may be no turning back.


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