Friday, 2 September 2011

Separation of Church and State

Some christian fundamentalist /right-wing/america first/american exceptionalists  often assert that "separation of church and state" are not in our constitution.

They are right if we are looking for the explicit words  "separation of church and state".

But what is not explicit is certainly  implicit in our foundational documents.  See for instance:

1. From Article Six of the Constitution 

 but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

2. From The First Amendment to the Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 
I think that Article Six and the First Amendment make two things clear.

First:  Persons of any, many, or no religions may hold public office and trust in the United States.
Second: The United States Congress is not allowed to endorse any religion, not is it allowed to prohibit any religion.
In other words -  government must keep its hands off religious expression, and religions may not make special demands upon government.
Such was the genius of our founders.  It's a genius which modern day american evangelicals and fundamentalists do not understand.


  1. If "separation of church and state" is such a great thing-and it is, btw, why don't England and Denmark and Finland and other "progressive" countries follow suit and get rid of their state churches? Why don't places like Germany and Switzerland and Norway stop giving or collecting money for their churches and let them pass the hat like we do in the US (and Canada and NZ and Australia)?
    Why the double standard?

  2. Presumably because they didn't have an American Revolution in England, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Norway.