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The Separation of Church and State - Essay Example

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The Separation of Church and State
This concept has been adopted in many countries, but the degree of separation depends on applicable legal structures and prevailing views towards proper role of religion in a certain society issues…
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The separation of church and state is distancing the relationship of the organized religion and the nation. The second reason is that the church might harm the state by starting a war because of wrongful religious convictions. The state also can harm the church when it dictates on religious ceremonies or by forcing religious leaders on civic matters that offend the church. There are 4 kinds of power: Physical, wealth, influence and authority. These powers can be misused in controlling others and can be dangerous when combined. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely hence no one should have this kind power hence the need to separate the two entities. With the separation of church and state, religious leaders should not have no right to interfere in policy decisions made by the government. It is actually inappropriate for policies by the government to be based solely on religious beliefs and doctrines.
This does not mean that officials in the government should abandon their faith to take part in the political process or that it is wrong to take up moral and religious values in politics. Moral dimensions also exist in both social and public policies including budgets which are inherent moral documents. Decisions such as tax increments and public spending affect the society and reflect a community’s priorities. Policy decision that affects peoples’ lives such as laws condemning murder and theft are rooted from religious teachings and are shared broadly across secular and religious lines. However, a public official has no right to base decisions or cite religious beliefs as a reason for failure to uphold the duties and responsibilities of their office. Religious leaders should only advice or be consulted but not having a seat at the decision table. They can comment, condemn or support the policies but only as the church’s opinion and not as the general public’s. The Family brought a fresh perspective on influential evangelists such as Charles Finney, Jonathan Edwards and Billy Graham. The book also gives a new understanding of leaders including Senators Sam Brownback and Hillary Clinton and former senator Dan Coats, Jack Kemps and religious right leaders Chuck Colson, Ted Haggard and Bill Bright. In the book, we learn how the legislative precedent for George Bush’s faith initiative was brought up by ideas from The Family and was sponsored by Family members, Republican Senators Ashcroft and Coats with assistance from Hillary Clinton. According to Sharlet (29), the author of The Family, members of this organization rarely step out of the shadows but only on one public event, the Prayer Breakfast which is annually hosted in the Whitehouse. When the government is lobbying efforts of most religious institutions, their activities are usually done in the darkness even as people of numerous influences routinely pressure lawmakers on issues ranging from international relations to healthcare or abortion rights to poverty. This was designed by the government when congress passed the Lobbying Disclosure Act in 1995 (Sharlet 15). The act provided a few exceptions including lobbying communications done by a church. The separation of state and the church is very important to the American government, but it is usually vague and murky. Americans want their legislators to pass good laws that result in a good society and good citizenship. Religious leaders do not have two perspectives of good, one secular and one religious. A legislator has to believe in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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