Seperation of church and state in the Constitution?

Do you think the constitution supports the serperation of church and state? Why or why not? Intelligent debate please.

Answer #1

The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Answer #2

It depends on how you define “seperation of church and state”

If you mean that the Church and the state are two seperate entities, and that neither one directly controls the other, then yes it does.

If, however, you mean that religion and politics never mix, then I think that it does not.

As mentioned above, the phrase “seperation of church and state” never appears in the constitution. It was taken from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote (as President) to a group of Baptists in Massachusettes.

it is interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson was not actually present at the Constitutional Convetion in 1787. When the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, he was serving as Secretary of State. He personally would not have had any voice on the wording of the Constitution or its original Ammendments.

On the whole, I personally think that seperation of Church and State is a good thing. I think that individuals should be able to practice religion as they see fit. Futhermore, if they wish to proclaim their religion in the public square then that is their right under the 1st Ammendment. I have no problem with a cresh or a cross or the 10 commandments on public property as long as its not the government funding its construction or display.

Answer #3

The First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the Federal Government from making one church the established or official Church of the U.S. and requiring citizens to support the established church with their tax dollars and possible even worship in that church. At the time the Amendment was written six or seven of the thirteen states that made up the United States at that time had an official church which was supported by the taxpayers. The problem was that different states recognized different churches (denominations) as their official church and if the Federal government had chosen a church to be the official church of the U.S. there would have been a conflict in those states that had chosen a different church as their official or established church. This was the problem that had existed in Europe a century before when the Holy Roman Empire, which consisted mostly of semi-autonomous principalities in Germany, had recognized one church as the official church of the Empire while the various principalities that made up the empire had recognized other churches as their official church. This led to the Thirty Years War and memories of that war were on the minds of the supporters of the establishment clause in the First Amendment. It was intended to prevent a civil war over religion in the U.S. by preventing the Federal Government from attempting to impose an established church for the nation that would be in conflict with the established churches of the states that had an established church.

By the time of the Civil War states that had previously had an established church had abandoned them and when the 14th amendment was passed - and this amendment applied the Bill of Rights or first ten amendments to the Constitution to the states where it had previously only applied to the the Federal Government - no state had an official religion. The establishment clause of the first amendment did not result in a controversy with the states since there were no longer any states with established churches. The effect of the establishment clause today is to prevent both the Federal Government and the governments of the 50 states from recognizing any particular church as their official or established church.

Answer #4

…you have to wonder why they wrote “Congress shall pass no law…” then, if the intent was merely to keep government religious meddling out of private affairs.

Answer #5

I do! But I think it was taken out of context. Religion was a major part of every day personal life during colonial times. I believe it was drafted and passed on the idea of keeping government out of personal affairs.

Answer #6

I do not think the constitution favors a separation of church and state. I think the constitution prohibits the government from favoring any one particular religious belief or establishing a national religion. I also think the constitution prohibits the government from interfering with religious freedom as long as that religion does not harm or disturb other Americans.

Religion is a part of the American way of life, and many of the nation’s founders were of religious persuasion. Many were also part of the Enlightenment school of thought, and wanted to ensure that America did not repeat the religious wars of Europe. I think that was the main concern of the founding fathers as they drafted the Constitution. I don’t think religion should be banned from political life or government policy; however, the government must be careful so as not to favor the establishment of a national religion or prevent free exercise, both guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Answer #7

I don’ t think the constitution supports seperation of church and state. Did you know the writer of the first amendment thoughr it should be mandatory that bibles were used in all schools.

Answer #8

The Seperation of Church and State is “supported” by the first Amend. but is not found in the Const. at all. It was first seen in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802.

Answer #9

The first amendment of the Constitution states in part,”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” And the supreme Court has ruled that the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment extends the First Amendment restrictions to cover state laws also. So the Supreme Court has said that it does.

It doesn’t ban individuals from practicing religion.

Answer #10

Yes. There’s no way intertwine religion with the state without violating the 1st Amendment. Contrary to what religious leaders like to claim, freedom of religion DOES necessarily imply freedom from religion. If I am compelled to participate in other people’s religions, I do not have freedom of religion.

Answer #11

Certainly it does. Jefferson & Madison wrote at length about the intentions of the Founders with regard to the Establishment Clause. They came from a place and a time where the Church ruled the State with disastrous results.

If you think about it, total separation is the only guarantee of liberty. It prevents the Church from legislating religion (which many politicians and religious groups are currently trying to do) and it also prevents the State from telling churches what to teach (which is likewise deplorable).

Answer #12

From a British Christian point of view, I think that the Church of England has not benefitted from being linked to the State. It has been compromised by having to conform to government expectations.

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