The Big Debate in Church and State

Quinn Kelly, Shift Editor

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Politics and religion are two of the touchiest subjects today. Talking about either one can end in arguments and, dare I say, hurt feelings. Not talking about it though will just end up making everything worse.

According to “The Pew Forum” website statistics, approximately 78% of all Adult Americans are Christian.

Even if you aren’t religious, you have to admit religion is a major part of our society. A society governed by Local, State, and Federal governments. It’s just natural to assume that a very large majority of these politicians are religious.

According to the Constitution “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”, yet there are many issues today which almost directly correlate with religious beliefs.

For example: gay marriage. Just about all arguments against it are based off of religious text and “morality.” This is a Democratic society, which is supposed to be “the home of the free.” How are we supposed to be free if decisions are made in an almost theocratic order?

Close to 22% of our population is not Christian, and frankly doesn’t want to be.

The problem is not religion, not even remotely. It is the lack of restraint and apathy towards anyone else’s beliefs or lack thereof.

When George H. W. Bush was campaigning for his presidency in 1987, he had a quick interview with Robert Sherman, a reporter for the American Atheist New Journal. Their conversation in part is as follows:

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman: Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I’m just not very high on atheists.

This was a man who became president of our democratic government, a government that is supposed to have a separation of church and state as outlined by the constitution.  As president he should have been one of the most understanding and tolerant people in the entire country. This, unfortunately, is not how is it.

Right now we are fighting the Muslim extremist group known as “Al Qaeda.” In the Muslim area of the world this group is feared and not very well liked. This brings me to the comparison of “Al Qaeda” and the “Westboro Baptist Church.” The “Westboro Baptist Church” is a Christian, Calvinism, terrorist extremist group. We are fighting the more violent group (not by much), but allowing the other group freedom to “express” their religion.

More recently I have heard talk about how President Barak Obama is in fact a Muslim. My first thought was, “Why does that even matter?” This is America. This is a country that claims tolerance and the freedom to choose ones’ own religion. This, once again, proves my point in saying that religion and politics should be separated.

Anyone, no matter his or her race, religion, disabilities, strange hobbies, newspaper preference, etc., could, no matter how unlikely, one day lead this country. This is something about America I am incredibly proud of.


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