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Separation of Church and State - Essay Example

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American attitudes concerning church-state relations are subject to two conflicting forces. First, Americans are very religious. In comparison with citizens of other industrialized nations, Americans report an extraordinarily high degree of religious belief, association, and practice…
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Separation of Church and State Essay
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"Separation of Church and State"

Download file to see previous pages Second, and perhaps on the contrary, the notion of a constitutional "separation of church and state" (a phrase that appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution) is an influential symbol in American political discourse. Though there is little agreement relating to the precise meaning of such separation, the principle itself is not normally challenged in American politics (Jelen, 2000).
Thus, 1Separation of church and state was definitely not an invention of the Enlightenment political theory that might have prompted similar thoughts in the mind of the respected Thomas Jefferson. Certainly it misleads to analyze the lively experiment in political terms at all, for the Providence regime was just as certainly and decisively rooted in Protestant theologies as was the Puritans' city on a hill.
The encompassing description of liberty of conscience was the systematizing principle of society, and it produced a kind of severance of church and state. It is thus significant to keep in mind that the cleavage was meant to protect the church and the soul from the debasing influence of the magistrate, to protect the garden of church from corruption in the boondocks of the world. The quest for spiritual purity quite factually led into the political realm, where he was basically traditional, if not authoritarian. This priority of the religious is clearly evident in the legislative explanation for the revised 1798 Act Relative to Religious Freedom, and the Maintenance of Ministers:
Whereas Almighty, God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitation, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and is a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his almighty power to do that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry these temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an appropriation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind. http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/jefferson_vsrf.html


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Presently a culture that is not only spinning unrestrained but also evolving in ways that many of them consider actually argumentatively to their religious vision. The hostility matters because that culture particularly through its media and public schools tends to send messages at odds with what numerous faithful parents want to teach their children. Could it be that we tend to ask the question backward Presume that the culture and its creature, the states, are making it harder to practice a particular vision of God's will or to raise children to practice it. If so, then debatably it is the state that presses, not the religion that resists, that is breaching the separation of church and state.
Concerning concrete applications of the First Amendment clauses on religion, public attitudes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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