Church conversations and little talks were a tad bit on my nerves – people do not understand the difference between CHURCH and STATE and I have been really seeing that over the last 5 years. However, it is merely the CHURCH that has a HIGH LACK OF KNOWLEDGE about politics….
Yes…… I MAY BE A HISTORY AND POLITICAL JUNKIE – but overall most black churches are not involved intellectually like “they should”….
The problem of church and state has to do with institutions and the spheres of action that are appropriate for each. Here the concept of separation is valid. The government does not appoint bishops and pastors for the churches. Churches, meaning here all religious organizations, do not appoint presidents, governors, and judges. No religion can be favored over others or supported by taxes.
The state has no role or authority in defining beliefs relating to God and worship. The free exercise of religion is to be guaranteed. The state is neutral between particular religions and permits citizens to believe or not believe in God and to engage or not engage in religious practices or belong to religious organizations according to the dictates of their conscience.
There is no religious test for holding office……………….. If it was a criteria… AMERICA would surely be in big trouble!! Yikes.
Is religion one of many activities that deserves protection so that other interests are equally important in the eyes of the law? Or does it deserve
special consideration so that its claims outweigh all others? If the former, our ultimate loyalties and our relationship to God may be demeaned and set aside for lesser values. Yet religion may be the sponsor of what is bigoted, heinous, reprehensible, or even trivial.
How can we protect religious liberty as a precious right and at the same time avoid its misguided, destructive, immoral, and hateful manifestations? To put it differently, society has a set of laws and practices regarding justice, medical practice, morality, decency and many other things.
When religious beliefs and practices are in conflict with what society has deemed necessary or important for the health and welfare of its citizens or
to guard their civil rights, what trumps what? How serious a breach of religious freedom can be tolerated for the sake of making secular law applicable to everyone? How reprehensible must an act be to eliminate its practice in the name of freedom of religion? Should individuals be allowed to discriminate in the name of religion against blacks or homosexuals or unmarried persons of the opposite sex where their own property or private prerogatives are concerned while a public institution should not? How do we distinguish between private and public in these cases?
How are we to weigh civil rights against freedom of religion? To shift the focus, is religious conviction merely an example of human subjective preference which we can change by another choice, or is it a transcendent objective demand that claims our allegiance in a compelling way so that we have no choice but to be obedient to it?
The Constitution specifically names freedom of religion as a protected right. How much weight does it therefore have in relation to conflicting claims? I am just so over everytime I put on the news someone is trying to take GOD off of something….. No one is stating to take His name off of money!
Let me touch briefly on a subject that is still with us. It involves a proposal by President George W. Bush. The issue of government support for faith-based human services is full of complications, dangers, ambiguities, and subtleties. The beauty of religiously-oriented social ministries is the potential for dealing with people as whole selves, i. e., giving them food for the soul as well as for the body. But this very unity poses the problem of how it is
Constitutionally permissible for the government to enable the providing of secular bread without funding sectarian religion.
If, on the other hand, the delivery of goods and services to the needy is totally divorced from the religious dimension, in what meaningful sense is it any longer faith-based, apart from merely being sponsored by a religious group? Why shouldn’t the government fund a church soup kitchen if all that is dispensed is soup? Because, we say, what the church would spend on soup can now be spent on the church bus. But maybe they would just serve more soup. Maybe the soup itself is a witness to the faith behind it, but if it is, is that not a sponsorship of religion?
Would the government discriminate against some religious groups? But that is a matter of administrative practice not of Constitutional principle. What is a religious group? What does faith-based mean? Can we think our way through this thicket without falling into confusion?
IM DONE……………… ugghhhh