The separation of Church and State.
When New York legalized gay marriage in 2011 there were many religious people that did not want it to be. They tried to persuade the government to disallow it because it goes against the Bible. The Church and State should be kept separate because religious viewpoints have too much power in government institutions. In Ayn Rand’s novel, Anthem, a government brainwashes it’s people. It controls their lives, suppresses their personalities, and tells them what is right and wrong. They see individuality as a sin. “It is a sin to think words no others will think and put them down upon a paper no others will see.” (Rand 1) In Anthem the government chooses people’s jobs, and their spouses who they will never be with again after they mate. They maintain this control with scare tactics, making people think individuality is a sin. It is a seemingly one for all situation yet the “all” is unaware of the corruption and ignorance of their government. In America the Church has too much power over the government, it’s views are considered when making laws. America is one of the most diverse countries in the world; with people from all ethnic backgrounds, religions, and classes. Not everyone in America practices the same religion, so to some the religiously influenced laws can be seen as wrong or unfair. It is written in the very document that made our country, the United States Constitution, that Church and State should be separate. “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 peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Though it never says in the constitution that the Church and State should be separate. Many think it means that the government should not involve itself in, establish, or support religions. The Church and the State should be kept separate because when religious views are implemented into laws it is not always just, people have differing religions, people have opposing viewpoints, and not everybody has the same opinions.
A very controversial topic in politics right now is that of same sex marriage, currently there are nine states where same sex marriage is legal. There are many religious groups that are against same sex marriage, saying that it is an abomination and that it is immoral. To some marriage consists of a man and a woman; they say that marriage should be defined as being a man and a woman and be put in the constitution. However, supporters of marriage equality point out the failed prohibition amendment, as a result the constitution does not mention social topics or marriage at any point. “Those opposed to gay marriage began to urge that an amendment to the Constitution be created to define marriage as being between a man and a woman only. Opponents of the amendment pointed to the failed Prohibition Amendment. As a reason why such social issues should stay out of the Constitution. In the absence of any such amendment, however, marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution at any point.” The opponents of same sex marriage often quote the Bible. Often quoting “9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” They say that because the Bible says that homosexually is wrong that the government should abolish it. This again brings up the need for separation of Church and State. As previously stated America is a very diverse country with many different people. Not all people agree with this, therefore we should not allow religion to have a say in government because it is not for everyone and not everyone can agree with it.
Due to the fact that there are so many Americans that practice different religions we cannot allow these religious viewpoints into government. Some say that the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah can provide guidance. However these are religious texts, and are read by the followers of said religion. When the religious viewpoints influence the implementation of certain laws, policies, and rules there can be severe consequences. You may ask “how is religion, which is not directly related to the government, affecting politics?” Here is the answer. “In America the people are the ones that supposedly control the fate of the country, and they are the ones that elect the government and it has been seen for the past two elections that the Republicans who support the interests of the religious individuals and cater to the needs of the people who think that practices such as gay marriage and abortion should be abolished. It has been argued that these are the factors that are the reasons for election and re-election of the republican candidates. The first and most crucial political effect that can be said to be related to religion is the selection of the government that runs America.” As you can see the religious preferences of people have a major role in our elected officials, and as a result, our countries future as well.
Because everyone has different opinions on different topics, we cannot assume that receiving guidance from our preferred religions text will benefit everybody. By separating Church and State we ensure our right to freedom of speech and practice of religion. The first amendment to the Bill of rights tells us so. “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 peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” By using the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, the writers say that no laws will be tailored to a certain religion. By saying this they allow the future leaders of our country to have the freedom to make laws that will be beneficial to everybody and in the process not be disconcerting to others. Some argue that the founding fathers based this nation around the Christian religion, therefore they assume that religion should be tied to the government. However, the founding fathers also wrote into the constitution that people have freedom of religion at the end of article six in the United States constitution, saying: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” This means that anybody attempting to run for public office does not have to be of a certain religion.
Others may argue that because 78% of American adults are Christian that America is a Christian country. Even though this leaves 22% of Americans to dispute the implementation of Christian belief into government not all Christians will vote to do so. In the end America is a republic, therefore everybody 18 years or older can vote. This allows each individual American to have a say in the way the country is run. By having a voice in your country’s future you are able to change the outcome.