One common expression of religiosity by candidates for government office in the United States is a statement that Judeo-Christian values are foundational for American society and government. Unfortunately, no one has the idea or the courage to ask candidates what they mean by "Judeo-Christian values." In this essay Michael D. Reynolds attempts to determine what this phrase might mean.
According to Collins Dictionary, secularism is "a system of social organization and education where religion is not allowed to play a part in civil affairs." Among its fundamental principles are the separation of church and state, a secular court system, fully secular state organizations, and a fully secular education system grounded in modern science, psychology, and philosophy. As the winds of religious fundamentalism get stronger, discussion about secularism becomes increasingly important.
"Most religious individuals have the best intentions at heart, and truly believe that their god and their way of life is what is best for everyone; if these ideals become law they will only end up alienating and incriminating the innocent."
If the establishment clause is good enough for some of us then it is good enough for all us. The presidential candidates and the American public would do well to keep this in mind when they contemplate the meaning and applicability of the establishment clause in the 21st century.
In a recent article in The Leaf Chronicle, Jim Monday, with the help of the Barna Research Group, manages to paint a surreal picture of the State and Church separation issue that is a sad reflection of the overall misconceptions often found on the far right.
Separation of church and state is being undermined by those who see an advantage to promoting their own religious agenda. Emboldened by the favorable political climate in the current administration, and energized by the upcoming election, they seem to be intensifying their attacks; one egregious example is that of the Catholic Church. Unless stopped, they will succeed in changing the very foundation of this country, bringing to an end the religious liberty we now take for granted.
The Transitional Administrative Law of Iraq carries a grave flaw. It has no provision for a separation between religion and government. Given the instability of postwar Iraq, the loophole in the charter must be sealed. If not, Iraq will have a door ajar for theocracy.
In newspaper editorials and letters, new-fashioned theocrats try to subvert the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by adducing pious remarks of the first U. S. Presidents. The comments are supposed to demonstrate that the first presidents sanctioned sponsorship of religious interests. On the contrary, these presidents left considerable evidence that they favored a strict separation of church and state.
Somewhere along the line, our founding fathers dumped hundreds of years of religious influence and went secular. How do we know? Historical documents prove the case. Aside from the Declaration of Independence and Constitution there were numerous other state and federal documents that support the principle of separation of church and state.
In viewing himself as an instrument of divine will and America as God's country, Bush is a throwback to the Puritan theocracies.
Had Bush not packaged his personal beliefs as inviolable truths in his address at the 51st annual National Prayer Breakfast, his sermonizing might be excusable. As it stands, however, his words make it apparent that he is oblivious to those who do not share his faith.