Essay: Separation of Church and State

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Separation of Church and State

Seperation of church and state

The genesis of Puritanism in America was marked by the fleeing of the pilgrims and puritans from the intolerant Anglican Church of England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their main objective was to obtain religious freedom and they were ready to pursue this even at the expense of their own lives (Schuldiner, 1994). Ironically after establishing themselves in this colony they amalgamated their political institutions with their religious faith and further treated all non-conformists with deep intolerance. They attributed their success in settling in America to God's approval further ascertaining the sanctity and divinity of their way of life. The conclusion was that no other religious expressions were to be tolerated, theocracy.

The ratification of the constitution of America on June 21, 1788 pushed for the Separation of Church and State (Fray, 2004). The founding fathers argued that those who believed in the Godly ratification of their political policies were against democracy and the most dangerous citizens. There were four major trademarks of theocracy that made it dangerous. First, theocrats claimed absolute truth which meant that it was not necessary for them to consider any other points-of-view. Secondly, they claim these "truths" are divine and thus are better than any other expression. Thirdly, any goal that is projected and is considered ideal justifies any means to achieve it. Lastly is the casting of political decisions in the framework of a holy war (Fray, 2004). These were practices that could only prevail at the time when citizens were not enlightened and had absolute belief in religion. The American constitution was written at the age of enlightenment, during this period there forces that were already competing religion. One of those forces was science which was rapidly replacing religion as the dominant force in the lives of people. People started viewing religious leaders like other leaders and would question any wrongdoings; this was contrary to the earlier ages when religious leaders would be followed blindly (Ziff, 1873).

This change in the attitude and perspective of citizens towards religion made the founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson to believe that the church and state should be separated. Essentially they wanted the end… [END OF PREVIEW]

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