The were hardly uniform and that the role of

The
bulk of contemporary debates over the separation of Church and government go
back to Thomas Jefferson and his address to the Danbury Baptist Association.
Given that the religious convictions of the founders were hardly uniform and
that the role of religion at the time of the founding was much different than
it is today, the usefulness and relevance of this question may be disputed.
Nevertheless, it remains a source of much public interest and is worth
exploring, if not to tell us what the role of religion should be today, then at
least to provide context for the philosophy behind the founding of a state with
an entirely original relationship to religion and religious freedom. Central to
such an investigation is Thomas Jefferson, whose contributions to the founding
cannot be overstated, and whose writings on religion range from asserting man`s
God-given rights in the Declaration of Independence to proclaiming the “wall of
separation” between church and state, which influences Constitutional
interpretation to this day. Thomas Jefferson envisioned a nation of political
and religious freedom, and wanted a mutual respect to be the central virtue of
the new country. Americans, today, should be striving to understand that
religion and government should be separate entirely, to the driving forces that
help us make decisions to Churches not having to pay taxes.

            By 1774, Jefferson had
committed fully to the Enlightenment concept of natural rights, which had
developed as a theory to oppose the “divine right” of kings to absolute rule
that characterized previous centuries. Jefferson incorporated this idea into
the language of his Summary View of the Rights of British America, writing,
“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force
may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.” (Foote) For Jefferson, God had granted man the great gift of reason, and a
failure to use that gift was similar to violating the sacred. The religious and
the rational were so unified in Jefferson`s mind, they were almost
indistinguishable. He also believed that man`s own moral reasoning was not only
sufficient for questions of ethics and good government, but was the basis for
morality as a whole. The extent to which a government trespassed on and
suppressed the ability of man to decide the answers to moral questions, for
himself, was the extent of tyranny. I believe in this time religion was a
central part of the culture but now science and atheism are very dominant
powers in our society. We have to allow for everyone to have a voice in
government, not just the religious, to have a true democracy. Thomas
Jefferson’s claims and writings should be interpreted with the time period. Furthermore,
Thomas Jefferson advocated for religious freedom because he wanted people to
listen their own moral voice to make decisions on pressing matters. If religion
is the basis of someone’s morality and they are taught to be kind and respect
their neighbor, their morality won`t be tainted by hatred.

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            Religion and government is a very
toxic and dangerous mix of power and control. America is very behind in stem
cell research because of religious organizations halting any stem cell research
projects People believe that it is ethically wrong to use human embryos in medical
research even if it might offer promising new treatments because they some
believe that the embryos used are the results of abortions. Support of stem
cell research has risen in the US over the past decade but with the new wave of
republican dominated power in our government, it may all come to a halt sooner
than later. Nick Allum conducted a study that concluded In the U.S., moral
acceptability was more influential as a driver of support for stem-cell
research; in Europe the perceived benefit to society carried more weight; and
in Canada the two were almost equally important. This highlights that when it comes to
making decisions, the most weighed factors are benefit and morality. The study
also concluded that public opinion on stem-cell research was more strongly
associated with religious convictions in the U.S. than in Canada and Europe,
although many strongly religious citizens in all regions approved of stem-cell
research. Unfortunately, with the prevalence of religious-based opposition in
state and federal systems of government, it’s incredibly easy to push for a
decision based on feelings and morals with a strong religious background. The
benefits of stem cell research are ignored because of dishonesty and deception
in our elected officials. Its rare one sees an official in office who wants the
position to help other, rather than feeding into their own agenda as an
individual and group. For example, Kim Davis is a woman who denied marriage
licenses to homosexual couples who spent five days in jail for
refusing to follow court orders and issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples, was met with applause from Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas,
who were Republican presidential primary candidates at the time and made public
appearances with her in Kentucky because of their shared Christian belief that
homosexual people cannot get legally married. Another example is Roy Moore of
Alabama who stated her say his future wife when she was a teenager and he was
30. He also has pending sexual assault allegations for multiple women. However,
some people in Alabama are standing by him because he is a “Christian
republican”. These people would rather have a pedophile/rapist in office,
rather than a democrat because he believes in God and stands for their same
religious beliefs, among many other reasons.

            There
are many small instances of Christian beliefs sneaking its way into everyday
America. Some examples include, “In God We Trust” on our money, “Under God” in
our National Anthem, swearing on a bible before testifying in court, and prayer
before political meetings. I believe religion
should be a choice. For example, praying before sport games should be allowed
but you don’t have to pray. One
shouldn’t have to swear on a bible in to testify in court and people should not
be forced to recite the national anthem. I believe Jefferson’s vision was like
this. We cannot escape religion and should not force religion onto anybody, but
make it a choice. With the growing number of atheists in our society, America
must recognize and accept other people’s differences. In a letter Thomas
Jefferson wrote to Peter Carr in 1787, he stated “question
with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must
more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear”. () This
is a very powerful quote and pulls together what Jefferson saw for his newly
founded country. He believes we should not God or our government, but we should
not be afraid to be curious. We must ask questions to grow as people and a
nation. Today, some talk about God and fearing him. I think this is a direct
reflection of their feelings towards the government and why they don’t even
think to ask questions pertaining to our government. People wont question
something they fear, they will only bow down to this invisible power because of
their fear of having no control. The government and its officials do a great
job of creating an illusion of power they put in the peoples hands so they
follow them blindly. This is the power and control that our government has
gained by not creating a secular system. They can control its citizen’s by just
questioning their morals. No one wants to be called a “baby killer” or a
“liberal”, when those words have a negative connotation not only in with your
superiors but also your family.

            Humans have an innate tribal-like mentality. We don’t
want to be isolated or ostracized by our loved ones or anyone for that matter. In 2009, Jordan
Grafman published an fMRI study showing that religious thoughts activate the
area of the brain involved in deciphering other people’s emotions and
intentions — the ability known as theory of mind. In the study of 40 people,
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Vol.
106, No. 12), Grafman and his colleagues found that when they heard phrases
such as “God’s will guides my acts” and “God protects one’s life,” areas of the
brain involved in theory of mind lit up. In a study published in 2009 in Social
Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (Vol. 4, No. 2), a Danish team saw the
same brain areas activate when religious participants prayed. Religon also
serves a key purpose in allowing people to live in large cooperative groups.
However, an important problem with this is that the more you look inward toward
your religious group and its claims of virtue, the less you look outward and
the more distrustful you are of others. I don’t believe religion shouldn’t be
allowed but I believe science should be equally respected in our nation, and I
believe Thomas Jefferson would agree with that statement.

            Jefferson stated that the separation between Church
and state should be between the laws governing over them. However, I think he
was inferring that religion and government need to be separate from one another
in many different aspects of control and power. He believed that no one should
have control over ones beliefs and no one can impose those beliefs on anyone.
However, the struggle of basing your morality on your religion leaves a lot of
room for bias opinions that turn into legislation.  People aren’t always going to agree but
respect shouldn’t be the first thing thrown out the window when debating
topics. If we take a divine creator out of a lot of tough subjects, the
arguments are a lot easier to make solid facts for because an invisible man in
the sky calling the shots is not a wide spread belief anymore.

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