Understanding "Separation of Church and State"
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
~Amendment I, United States Constitution
For those Americans who believe the so-called “separation of church and state” gives atheists carte blanche to strike down any public manifestation of religion, I offer the words of the actual United States Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This section literally means that the government cannot adopt an official religion. This is a direct rebuke of the idea that a church should control or act as the government of a nation. For all of those who think Christians dream of a Christian church-ruled government, think again. The bible teaches Christians exactly what the church’s responsibility is: the saving of souls, not governing nations.
Yet, Christian Americans, just like any other citizens, have a right to make decisions based on their beliefs. The Constitution also beautifully details the right individual citizens have to practice their religion: (continued from the previous Constitutional quote, above) “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Additionally, elected officials, as representatives of their constituents, may vote according to the religiously-based values of those they represent. This directly contradicts the attempts some have made to delegitimize any individual who would dare vote based on their religious convictions. Those who aim to share the hope that is in them—Christians know what I mean—are protected in their right to do so. Freedom “from” religion does not mean one will never have a Jehovah’s Witness show up at their door, or see an advertisement for a Christian-inspired movie. Atheists believe too. They simply believe that God does not exist.
Those opposed to religion act as if the Constitution deals directly with religion, to guarantee protection against it. They believe that religious freedom is somehow “set apart” from the rest of our fundamental rights. It is explicitly named in the first amendment, but that is not to condemn it. Rather, religious freedom was something of paramount importance to the founders. Without the freedom to live according to a set of values, not in contradiction with the Constitution, every lifestyle outside of what the government approves would be illegal. That is not freedom.
Religious exercise is belief-based expression. If belief-based expression is to be limited, in the case of religion, then all belief-based expression would have to be limited. We would have to assume that only fact-based expression would be allowed. Yet, who would determine what is fact-based? The government? Is anything fact-based, if religion is considered not fact-based? Religion is the only realm where absolutes are possible. Guaranteed by the authority of an omniscient God, religious principles are firmly rooted in concrete facts. Scientific laws are based on likelihoods, probabilities, and consensus. Nothing is proven absolutely, as we will never completely understand everything or any one thing under every possible condition. So… we shouldn’t get ourselves into the business of limiting one person’s belief, because ours may be the next in the crosshairs.
Free speech cannot live, if religious speech is not protected. Free speech is already under fire, mostly being challenged by the Left. The idea being that certain speech is so harmful to society that it is essentially the equivalent of physical damage. Nobody appreciates or believes in the legitimacy of racist, sexist, or any other grossly discriminatory speech. However, the individuals who are clamoring the loudest for curbing free speech would have you believe that supporting ICE is racist. That idiotic jump to conclusion is exactly why free speech should be protected, at all costs. Gut free speech and a litany of other rights will be robbed of their legitimacy. Goodbye freedom of the press, as conservative news outlets would be destroyed. The right to bear arms would be revoked, basically overnight. Freedom to assemble, which protects any peaceful organization from coming together, without being subject to government intrusion. While we’re at it, why not revoke property rights? The Democrat Party has basically built their platform on the abolition of private property. Their love for government-run institutions, making the best decisions for individuals, has led them to advocate for massively excessive government controlled institutions, programs, industries, and services.
Freedom of religion is under fire, regardless of what the mainstream media would have us believe. So many “religious” progressives speak of updating Christianity, because it does not jive with their worldly values. Homosexuality, abortion, transgenders, and other issues have the Democrat Party squarely at odds with Biblical teachings. And, trust me, they know it. As certain denominations cave to the pressures of secular society, turning their backs on their obligation to adhere to all of God’s word, the rest of secular America looks at practicing Christians as immoral. What they don’t understand is that if they challenge the freedom of religious exercise, they will seal the fate of nearly every Constitutionally-protected right we cherish in this nation. Or, maybe the problem is that they completely understand…