The Importance Of The Separation Of Church And State?

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The United States of America was first settled by individuals escaping religious persecution in Europe and around the world. Because of the overwhelming influence of religion in the European governments, it was imperative that the newly settled Americans form a government that did not give religion the power to directly control all aspects of life. The importance of no one religion having an unreasonable amount of power over an entire country was not lost on the Founding Fathers causing them to institute this idea of religious freedom. In order to deny any specific religions the ability to control the American government, which threatens infringing upon individual rights, the separation of Church and State was created. This ideological belief …show more content…
This idea, directly influenced by the Enlightenment and instituted by the Founding Fathers, illustrates the concept of keeping the United States government separate from religious institutions. It has been debated throughout history to what extent this separation was intended by the creators of the Constitution, and many legal cases have been presented challenging the relationship between the American government and various religions. Since the 1800s this institutional separation of religious organizations and the United States government has remained a foundational principle for legal and cultural decisions and has been seen as “a cornerstone of American democracy” (Green). However, maintaining this complete separation of Church and State, as coined by the Supreme Court in 1879 (Green), has proved to be much more difficult to accomplish than the Founding Fathers had anticipated. Even when creating this country, individuals like John Dickinson, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison faced questions regarding the commonality between government and religion. John Dickinson, one of the Founding Fathers, wrote a letter to his own state, Pennsylvania, stating that while some people believe that separating the government and religion is impractical, it would be the downfall to …show more content…
An example of a time when religious importance was emphasized was after World War II, when “many Americans saw the United States as a protector of religion” (Influence of Religion). They even added the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 (Encyclopedia Britannica), illustrating how faith can be a unifying factor. By adding this phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance, the American people signified their unity as a country and their belief, not necessarily in the same specific religion, but in the power of maintaining consistent faith in one another and the country. More recently, there was enormous public support for an increasing religious influence in American government directly following September 11, 2001 (Newport). This was a trying and fearful time for Americans, and it was then that they looked for a sense of community and comradery that only faith in, not simply God, but in each other, could provide. It is during these times of great struggle that Americans have historically increased their positive stance of religion in society. It can be argued that this stance on religion was not just based on Christian or Buddhist or any religious teachings, but American ideals that have continued to express the need for community, understanding, and devotion -- many ideas brought into American society by various

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