I’m a stalwart advocate of the separation of Church and State. It’s an absolute no-brainer. God has no place in government. That’s not an opinion, it’s an established rule. And it’s a very good one for very good reasons. These reasons shouldn’t be up for debate but we are humans and we debate about everything.
Why should there be no debate, you ask? What gives me the right to say that? Well it’s all there in the First Amendment.
“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.”
Quite a few of our forefathers really knew what they were doing. They said to themselves we started coming here because of religious persecution. We wanted to be free to make our own choices on what we believe and not allow kings and queens to interfere.
So there it was, James Madison made sure it was right at the top of the list. He knew if it wasn’t there we’d fall into the same trap as our ancestors. Madison actually was a lot wordier about it than the passage that made it into the Bill of Rights. But, even back then, Congress could be a little lazy so they shortened it up into a nice neat little package. Why would anyone need more than that? Well, that brings us to the here and now and if the forefathers could see the current atmosphere we live in they would’ve kept Madison’s original text. Which is this:
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed. The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.”
So it was wordier and they sought to condense it but imagine how much easier things would be if it was left alone. For those that may have skipped it, it says not only will we not establish a national religion but people’s individual religious beliefs can not infringe on someone else’s life.
People always have a lot to say about the Second Amendment but they sort of glance over number one. That’s the way our country is though, always worried about what might be taken away they don’t look at what we already have.
We have built-in instructions on how to be a loving, considerate nation albeit in a condensed format. I’d love to see Madison’s original piece added back to the First Amendment. The forefathers greatly underestimated how some American’s would devolve over the years. They were like, “Madison, we don’t have to be that specific. They’ll get it.” Now Madison’s somewhere shaking his head, saying, “I told you guys.”
It should have been pretty self-explanatory but simple issues can become complex problems when in the hands of simple people. Their minds automatically go into defense mode, wondering how allowing everyone to live their life how they see fit will step on their toes or the toes of their God. Some of these people care so much about their toes they trample all over everyone else’s.
The operative words above are “their God”. That’s the reason the First Amendment exists. Their God doesn’t equal My God, or His God. Or Their Choice not to believe in God. We are a multicultural nation. We always have been; we always will be. So I don’t say God has no place in government to undermine anyone’s beliefs, I say it because it has to be that way. Because the question becomes whose God is the right one and that’s an unanswerable question.
One person’s religion or belief system is neither better nor worse than anyone else’s. This is what people forget or choose to ignore. I personally can’t put my faith in an ancient book that’s been passed down for generation to generation. (Hasn’t anyone ever played the telephone game. The original message is never the same.) I certainly can’t put my faith behind any religion that promotes hate over love. I can’t put my faith behind or follow anyone that argues I’m right and everyone else that doesn’t believe the same is wrong. Again, personally, I don’t think anyone should because there’s no certainty in life. There’s no 100% guarantee of anything.
If I’m wrong and you’re right I’ll be the one burning in Hell or whatever, that’s my business not yours. I would much rather make sure people aren’t living in Hell here on Earth than what may or may not happen to me after I’m dead. And for those ultra-religious folks out there, how do you know I don’t get these ideas from God. You don’t. I don’t. That’s like asking where do ideas come from, what makes us creative, or how does imagination work. No answers. You may believe the answers are out there or in a book, and believing that gives you comfort, so that’s what works for you. But one person’s comfort zone is not universal.
When people get hung up on who’s right and who’s wrong they forget none of us really know. Maybe you’re right, maybe I am, maybe we both are a little or maybe we’re all wrong. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe we’re all in this together so we should learn to share and be open-minded. Wouldn’t that be something?