By: Allure Graphics - Artist
A lot has been made of the ‘separation of church and state’, to the point when anything that hints at God cannot benefit from public funds. But this is NOT what the Bill of Rights says – separation is never mentioned! The document itself says – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Simply put: A) no establishment such as the “Church of the USA” and B) no stopping people from worshipping who or what to worship. Otherwise there might be problems with American Idol! (Grin).
On a day to day basis people do not run into problems with this amendment. Except for over eager practitioners at airports, proselytizing is not an issue that people deal with. But for me, that changes once education enters the equation. I send my children to a private religious school for their education. This is a choice I made since I feel that the school they go to will better reflect the values that I am trying to instill in my children. A major issue I see is cost. Day schools are a little bit on the expensive side since none of the costs for these schools are subsidized by the state (or county or city) and I think this is patently unfair. I don’t think for a second that teaching of bible, holidays or customs should be paid for by the state the same way I wouldn’t want my tax dollars to be spent on confirmation lessons for Catholic Children. But Reading, Writing, Math, Science, civics and the like that should be the same across any denomination, should have subsidies from the government, based on the taxes that we pay. Say for example, the morning classes focus on Religious studies and the afternoon classes on ‘secular’ studies like math an literature. In such a set-up, morning studies should not and would not get any state funding, and the afternoon would benefit from state assistance.
So why is this not happening? I think that the ‘separation of church and state’ clause that isn't in the Bill of Rights, is making itself felt at this point. The need for separation means that no monies can go to an institution that ALSO teaches anything religious which places an unnecessary burden on those who want supplement their children’s education with the mores that are important to them. If the government wants to put oversight in place to make sure that religious studies are not paid for by tax dollars I don’t think anyone would complain.
The bill says ‘Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion’….