The Separation Of Church And State
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Politics and Activism

The Separation Of Church And State

The central issue.

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The Separation Of Church And State
gbcdecatur.org

Many of the most intense social debates in the United States revolve around Thomas Jefferson's age-old idea of the "separation of church and state." This phrase refers to a clause in the First Amendment which reads the following: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

This clause has been utilized many times by the federal government and the Supreme Court in order to ensure that religious preferences do not influence political decisions.For example, the Supreme Court held that "religious duty" is not an acceptable defense for having committed a crime. Regardless of whether or not you are religious, it should be obvious that intertwining politics and religious beliefs is antithetical to the idea of democracy; it can also be dangerous, both because religion is more or less a set of immutable rules and because many of those rules are, even without malicious intent, discriminatory.

However, since the conception of this nation, an impassioned battle has raged concerning religious individuals wishing to push politics in the direction of their beliefs -- those against gay marriage, abortion rights, contraception and sex education, and many other social issues, for example. Now, most of these people realize that in America, you cannot simply advocate for restricting other's freedoms just because of your religion. That will not get you very far. Instead, they've tried to come up with non-religious reasons to support their policies.

Gay people make worse parents. Trans people are a danger to young children in bathrooms. Abortion is no different than murder. Contraception will encourage underage sex. Or, they flip the issue around -- they make everything a state's rights/individual's rights concern. The federal government can't tell me that my state has to marry gay people. We should make that decision ourselves.

I could write for days about how yes, the federal government does have the right to ensure gay people can marry, how no, contraception actually decreases underage sex, how no, abortion is not like murder at all, how no, studies show trans people are actually less dangerous than other population subsets and how gay parents are no more good or bad than any other couples. But what I want to focus on, and what you should too, is how simply hypocritical these religiously motivated policy makers are.

With all the intellectual freedoms they could ask for, they spend their days inhibiting the freedoms of others. History will judge them.

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