A Discussion of the Separation of Church and State


Evangelicals supported Proposition 8 by a margin of 81% to 19%, and those who say they attend church services weekly supported Proposition 8 by a vote of 84% to 16%. Non-Christians, by the way, opposed Proposition 8 by a margin 85% to 15% and those who do not attend church regularly opposed Proposition 8 by a vote of 83% to 17%.

What this tells us, quite strikingly, is that Proposition 8 was a highly successful effort of a particular religious group to conscript the power of the state to impose their religious beliefs on their fellow citizens, whether or not those citizens share those beliefs. This is a serious threat to a free society committed to the principle of separation of church and state.

The framers of the American Constitution knew that throughout human history religious self-righteousness has caused intolerance, discrimination and injustice. They understood that religious self-righteousness is dangerous, divisive and destructive, and that it has led to untold ignorance and misery. It was for that reason that they embedded in our Constitution a fundamental commitment to the separation of church and state.

The framers were not anti-religion. They understood that religion could help to nurture the public morality necessary to a self-governing society. But religion was to be fundamentally private. It was for the individual. It was not to intrude unduly into the political sphere.

But here's the rub: From a strictly legal perspective, it is next to impossible for courts to enforce the separation of church and state in the context of laws like Proposition 8. When a law does not directly restrict religious activity or expressly endorse religious expression, it is exceedingly difficult for courts to sort out the "real" motivations behind the law. As a consequence, courts are loath to invalidate laws on the ground that they enact a particular religious faith.

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5 Responses Nov 17, 2008

Religion is notbeing imposed....You are NOT forced to do anything other than what you want...Like I said there are so many ways around the topic.....Call it what you wish.....But why is it so important to c all t a marrage....Is not Domestic Partnership enough...It gives you medical...and everything else that comes with it...Let us face it...The rite of marrage is a religious rite...Nothing else...

What about the e-mail from the a. Super. of schools that stated that it would be taught in schools....as far as sep. of church and state....What would you have people do....As soon as they have a church membership....do they lose the right to vote?????Is this not a country where it is a one man....one vote system....Come on now.....Like the Obama people tell me over and over.....Get over it....The peoplehave spoken....But I guess what the people voted on twice...is not enough for you....You will keep taking it to court until you get your way...Just like a little child.....You have domestic partnerships.....medical....have partner leave a will and you will have inharitance rights....Living will and power of attorny.....gives you medical say so......There is so many ways arond this....Just stop it now....<br />
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Besides this way you can walk away clean....No divorce laws for you....Of cource there is always palamony laws....

You can blame Obama for that one....It is the black that go to church the most.....and are more set in their ways....If he had not wanted to get elected....They would have not gone and used their vote......Most the voted for Obama.....Voted Yes on 8.....so do not lay blame on my door step....Lay it at the door of the bigited black man...<br />
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Me....I just do not think that they should be teaching it to the kids.....Or if they want to teach it to the kids....Than I should have the right to Keep my kids from learning that....Just like Sex Ed......Give us the right to keep a handel on what the kids hear.....School should be about reading and writting...and math.....and things like that....Not about who sleeps with who...

Well, I can only hope that in the future a more liberal Supreme Court will finally rule that narrowly defining marriage as being between one man and one woman is discriminatory, which it obviously is, and that brings me to another point. It's about time we get around to adding a true "equal rights" amendment to our Constitution so that, once and for all, everyone is treated equally and fairly under law.

The writting of this story is supurb, extreamly decisive and very informing. You have an excellent way with words. I agree with you on the point of church and state, it was one of our founding fathers large concerns since it was the whole reason they left England. Freedom to decide which was not one of the liberties they enjoyed must be upheld. I personaly don't agree with abortion in some circumstaces, however I should not be the one to decide what women do with their bodies, it is simply not my choice nor the governments. I feared that the G.O.P. might win this past election and try to tie up our court systems with trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade. This was a monumental step in our freedoms and preserving the constitution. Whether we believe in the right to bare arms or not it will be tested. I don't own a gun but the constitution guareenties that right so we must preserve it. I know I'm writing to an english major so far I've gotten a C in spelling and a D in grammer LOL please accept my deepest apologies in my sad attempt to spell and make my statement to you gramaticly correct. It's the thought and content. Anyway if you can dicifer this mess I hope you will respond and give me your thoughts. Nomisday <br />
Madmanmo (do I get a point for spelling my name right?) LOVL