separation of church and state

I am a Catholic through-and-through. I believe in all the tenets of the Catholic Church and wished that all men would follow them as well. Equally so, I know that if all would follow Christ and His Church, peace would reign over the earth.
That being said, I have been thinking and reflecting a good amount on the political situation- gay union, abortion, school prayer and many other issues being discussed in this country, many with a religious voice. I do not like the idea of gay marriage; I abhor abortion- both the action and the mindset behind it; I think the day starts better with prayer. However, there is a separation of church and state in this country. Each has a specific function and responsibility in this regard.
This country’s foundation is the premise of freedom. While being founded by men with Judeo-Christian beliefs, the foundation is the premise of freedom. It grants freedom for the Catholic Church, the Anabaptists, the Quakers, the un-churched, and even those who sacrifice at the altar of materialism. It granted rights to human persons, no matter who they were. We were slow on realizing that. It took us 144 years to allow women to vote; it took us 89 years to realize that black or white, we are all persons with value who deserve freedom. In the end, this country’s foundation is on freedom that belongs to every person, no matter their creed, their age, their race, their opinion or their ancestry.
It is not the role of the State to define morality, or to tell us how to live it. The role of our churches and our religions define morality- whatever the church. I know that adultery is wrong because God said so and not because the Senate passed a resolution. Some people do not think adultery is wrong and I pity for it. I believe that their view on life, the sanctity of marriage and the context of the human condition is flawed and they will not reach the fullness of life they seek. However, there are free to do it.
Many moral issues are State issues as well. If you commit a crime against a person- assault, rape, murder- you are treading against both morality and the state. The State has a responsibility to safeguard its citizens and punish those who harm them.
There are some issues that are moral issues that simply can not be regulated by a free State.
Marriage is sacred and exists to unify a man and a woman. A gay marriage cannot exist. However, in the legal sense, a civil marriage is nothing more than a contract filed with the county clerk’s office. In our country, we have that contract mean many things as far as Social Security payments, next-of-kin relations, etc. I do not like the idea of something as sacred as marriage transformed, at least on the civil level, into what it is becoming. However, I cannot argue against it while preaching this country’s foundation of freedom.
I will work in whatever ways possible with my church, and other churches that agrees with the sanctity of marriage, to help strengthen marriage. I simply cannot legislate that.
I do think, however, that the State does due reason to interfere with gay couples who wish to raise children. I do not know enough about gender identity and how children come to understand it; although, with what I do know it is too sensitive of an issue for the state not to keep an eye on it. The same could be said of many single parents as well. In either case, I will be working with my church to help preserve the basic unit of society- a family with a mother and a father. My position is logically weaker on this point; it will take time to formulate it completely.
Abortion is wrong. It is immoral and it should be illegal. It is the death of a human person. It is scientific fact that the zygote is the start of human existence. In many cases, this existence is aborted naturally; just as our lives end naturally at many ages. A woman’s choice be damned- it is not her right or choice to end the potential of life once gametes have been fused. If it happens naturally, so be it. By this, I object to some forms of birth control as well and I acknowledge this. On the same note, I do not find any form of birth control or regulation, short of abstinence, moral but it merges into the realm of things the government should not tell us to do or not to do. Again, I will be working with my church to help promote the sanctity of life, the position of life in the grand scheme of human existence and to help explain the connection between sexual relations, the union of matrimony and the creation of life.
Prayer in school is the easy one. We require kids to be there and we indoctrinate them. As a government, we are not allowed to indoctrinate them with religion. We can teach them about religion but not indoctrinate them with it. We allow private schools and if you want your child to pray at the start of the school day in a school building, send them there. Do you want to promote religion with the young? Help your church setup after school programs and convince parents that their children should go. Start pushing Hollywood to clean up what they put on TV and work on what your children are indoctrinated with at home. We simply cannot be allowed to do it at school.
What about prayer at football games? Or graduation? Honestly, I do not agree with that either. I can pray on my own accord, in an act between my God and me, for the safety of the players and in thanksgiving for allowing me to complete a course of study. The prayer at my high school graduation, while squeaking by as being Christian, prayed for things that I do not wish to be praying. It was obviously a Protestant prayer and I am not Protestant. I will ignore the situation of a Jewish student thanking Jesus Christ. I commend our institutions for acknowledging the Higher Being and bowing down to Him; however, it is not the place of an institution of the State to do in an official capacity.
Equally so, it should not inhibit students from exercising their own rights to pray together as long as it is done without interfering with the educational mission of our schools.
Now, I have just ranted about the separation of morality and law in this country. Should our politicians keep to this separation? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We live in Republic. We elect people to make decisions for us. It is hard to say where the divide should fall at times. If I was faced with voting for or against abortion- it is obvious how I would vote. When it comes to gay civil unions, it is hard to say where exactly I will fall. I think I would feel like a hypocrite either way. I would probably find some compromise that keeps it short of “marriage”. God then Country, right?
In either case, we should remember that this country is founded on freedom. We cannot snub our noses at others for not having the same beliefs as us. It is our duty as Catholics to help evangelize all peoples; however, it is our duty as Americans to preserve freedom even when we disagree with it. There is a separation of responsibilities and duties in this country; our churches have been failing our society just as much as the country has been failing our society.
We have to take a two-tiered approach to the complex moral issues in this country. We must fight to protect freedom and promote tolerance while working to convince people that our way is the right way.






3 responses to “separation of church and state

  1. Shellie Avatar

    Wow! Somebody felt like ranting today, huh? Prayer in school is always a tough issue…however, I think schools are doing a pretty good job at not going overboard with keeping prayer out (minus the whole “under God” thing). But as for them interefering with students praying together, I haven’t seen much of that. When schools still allow groups like the FCA to get together under the school name, it’s okay. Plus, at Hirschi, we did have that Meet you at the Pole thing. (I only went once…I feel guilty…lol). Anyway, that’s my two cents for the day…Oh! I also have something I’m going to mail to you…so get in touch with me. 😀

  2. Sabrina Avatar

    Don’t really have too much to comment but I did enjoy your entry. It was very thought provoking and well put. I do agree with what most of what you had to say. I hope you are doing well. Enjoy your week off! See you soon.

  3. benkendorf Avatar

    Your comments are right on. May you continue to espound them freely.

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