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Friday, January 28, 2011

Separation Anxiety.

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’….


  1. I wish there were some sort of solution - really sad that you have to spend all your salary on a good school. Sigh.

    I don't think the argument here is religion, though. There are plenty of secular private schools out there that also don't get any funding. It's because it's private, not religious. (Did you hear about the hebrew immersion charter school opening in Englewood? That's public - sounds interesting).
    Anyway, I don't think the government should be obligated to help fund any and all schools out there that anyone decides to open up, BUT I do love the idea of school vouchers, so people have better choices. Wish that would become reality.

  2. Separation?
    Well I guess I will get a bit preachy - but, really, it is just my opinion in a sea of 7 billion.
    The states were very religion oriented for a long time, and ministers were often aldermen. Massachusetts was established by Calvinist Puritans and religion was institutionalized in most of the original 13. Side note: Christmas was outlawed in Massachusetts until the 19th century - an interesting fact worth pursuing.
    The states were free to establish "religion" - the federal government was not; for what should be obvious reasons. A Republic -

    "Massachusetts Bay venture was transformed from a trading company into an organization dominated by staunch Puritans with a religious agenda."

    All religion has been hijacked, to one extent or another, for "other" purposes. Just look at the state of the world; and the history of our world

    I think most of us know in our hearts that our time here, in this place, this life, is to serve a higher purpose. Apart from our physical existence - We are spiritual warriors and we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Soldiers for good - or something else. It matters not if you are Christian - Muslim - Hindu - or whatever. How can "that" conflict be separated from all of life; including government? At risk of offending, my personal belief is: One can not separate the example of Yeshu - especially from governing, and to argue with the example (whatever label) is a grave error.

    Will anyone give opinion how helpful this astrologer is? How accurate - how personal -
    I'd be interested - Or how about opinion of this pastor

    Peace through Change and
    Change through Peace -

  3. I think the problem is the focus on Separation not what the constitution says.

  4. *tilts head* The Great Wall isn't mentioned in the Constitution, no, but it is something that was treasured by Thomas Jefferson and several of the other Founding Fathers, lest we forget Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli. :)

    I don't have a problem with *religion* in and of itself, or people's *distinct right* to practice what they choose. I have a problem with denominational affiliations trying to have it both ways - be tax-exempt AND involved in public arenas where not everyone in the population shares their views.

    Our country's original motto is NOT "In God We Trust" (that was added in the 20th century). Our motto is "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, One) ~ which is quite fitting, given the diverse nature of the country. I'm atheist, with friends affiliated with a myriad of religions (the big three monotheistic, as well as the various polytheistic). Public schools and institutions should remain neutral ~ the only real denominations vying for demolishing the great wall are evangelical -- SBC-type and fundamentalist/pentecostal (within which I grew up) -- and make no mistake, the mentality is dominionist. My feeling is if that is what they want? Fine- remove the tax-exempt status. Think: Bob Jones University versus the United States (1970), which is what galvanized previously antagonistic religious organizations into the center of the political arena (based in racist policy post-Civil Rights movement) ~ decided on by SCOTUS in 1983 ( ~ there is a strain of religious faction that is more divisive in this country than many reasonable Christians and people of other faiths seem to realize, and their aim is to promote Christian dominion in the county. It dates back to the Civil War, and will continue to haunt us if we sit on our laurels and recognize that *everyone* has the right to practice their faith (or not, as is the case), but on a governmental level, no religious denomination should be declared.

    (Let's also remember that was part of the issue with our rebellion from the Crown - in part, taxation; in part, the rule of the Church of England....)

  5. You said: "be tax-exempt AND involved in public arenas" I am NOT calling for public funds to ever support religeous activities. I don't think my children's bible studies should EVER be supported by public funds. My point is having secular education (the 3 r's for lack on a better descriptor) assisted by the same funds that are used by public schools. Does there need to be oversight to ensure no mis-use? Probably, but I think any institution using such funds would be fine with that and help with such efforts!


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