Government and Religion: separate?

My question is very simple. Should religion be kept out of government?

John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president, and he said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.” In the recent presidential campaign, Mitt Romney was a Mormon, and gave a speech in Virginia in which he said, “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart,” Romney said to loud cheers. “We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.” These are two examples of the different sides of the debate. Again I ask, should we allow religion to influence the state?

Posted: August 13th 2013

Blaise www

Separation of church and state is actually much trickier than most people believe. It isn’t just about taking 'god’ out of the pledge and off money.

People will act (if they act morally) as their conscience dictates. In the case of a religious person, that conscience is theoretically guided by religion. You can’t tell such a person that they aren’t allowed to promote their opinions if their religion motivates them, as that would constitute forcing religion (or non-religion) on them, which would, itself, violate separation.

The best we can hope for is to create a government where “because this is what I believe” is accepted as a valid position, but “because my religion says so” is treated as verbal diarrhea. Romney should be welcome to display his own bigotry and ignorance with god “in his heart” and as “bestower”, but if the only reason for a political action is because “my religion is right”, it should be disallowed.

However, on the other side, it is clear that all official recognition of any religion (or of religion itself) by government is odious and inherently prejudicial. Coins, seals, flags, pledges, courthouses, and textbooks must be devoid of religion’s mention except as a topic of education/acceptance/tolerance…

Posted: August 14th 2013

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