One Nation Indivisible With Liberty And Justice For All

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

Many times I hear the Americanized phrase, “never talk about politics or religion in polite company.” I am sure this concept is intended to keep the peace, and in truth, if people are unable to be kind, considerate and thoughtful, maybe they should keep quiet. However, it seems to me, as a result of our screwed up media system combined with our infatuation for stereotypes, many of us (American’s) do not really understand what we believe, or why we believe it. If verbalizing these thoughts makes someone uncomfortable, embarrassed, or feel threatened it may be easier just to avoid conflict, and I respect that. But if the rest of us cannot politely talk about a controversial topic, how can we ever expect to bring about a positive change to our world?

For a number of reasons, one of my personal American Hero’s is Roger Williams. Even though he was instrumental in founding the Baptist Church in the United States, he was often labeled a heretic and a seeker (both of which I can intimately identify with). One of his signature positions was, if we do not create a high wall between church and state, the church will corrupt the government and the government will corrupt the church.

Whether a person is aware of it or not, we all develop forms of psychological conditioning. Statistically, this is a huge influence on an individual’s position on religion, politics, philosophy and just about every area of life. My parents were not über active politically during my childhood. I remember a few muted conversations about Nixon, Ford, and Carter, but it was not until Reagan got into office that I started paying attention to my surroundings. My father really liked Reagan, but thought he had too much Hollywood left in his system. Although I didn’t understand much about it, the topic was already important to me in 1988, when I participated in voting for the first time as an adult. In the primary I voted for George H. W. Bush because someone had told me not to vote for the other candidate (Pat Robertson) because he would not be able to separate church and state decisions. I am pretty sure I would still vote against any religious leader entering into office.

Why was separation of church and state so important to our founding fathers? If there was a clear precedent established to remove Christianity (or any other religion) from our formative documents, why should this be different today?