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Separation of Church and State - Essay Example

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This research explores church-state relations as it seems highly paradoxical that the US Constitution provides for a strict separation of Church and State yet religious considerations have a major impact on the country’s public life…
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Separation of Church and State
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Download file to see previous pages 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. This means that, at times, there is a strong enticement on the part of some citizens to transform their religious principles into public policy. Specifically, if religion is a significant influence in a citizen's life, that citizen seems more probable to seek government support of religiously based values. 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. Thus, Separation 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 the 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. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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