Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Separation of Church and State

JZ argues…

Separation of Church and State is a both a fiction and an undesirable element of any political system. This was shown by the practices of the Islamic empires of the Middle Ages. Currently, the United States government prides itself on having a non-theocratic system of government that creates a neutral government and tolerance for numerous religious groups. However, this is simply a fiction. Everyone understands that strong, organized Christian organizations have a huge influence on the Republican party in America. Furthermore, Democrats are now trying to show that they are equally religious in their decisions in order to win over voters. This suggests that the churches in American do have influence over politicians and that the people want it that way.

Now I am sure that some of you “wise fools” (sophomores) will argue that this is not a single Church but influence from many churches. However, all of these churches have a commonality of Christianity. This was recently seen when our first Muslim representative was elected to office. When he was sworn in, he brought a copy of the Quran. There was a national outcry that he brought a book that was not a part of the political traditions in America since its inception. This showed how strongly one religious faith does influence the way that we do politics in America.

Now, I am sure that many of you will argue that a theocracy or mixing of the religious faiths is impossible because of the multiple religious groups in the country. However, the Ottoman empire was able to deal with this while establishing a single faith that centered their empire. They would establish local millets or communities that could be led and centered around their religious faiths. These communities were allowed to have their own leaders, cultures, and laws as long as they showed ultimate respect and deference to the Sultan. The Sultan hardly ever interfered with the local communities except on issues of taxes for the empire. These communities did have to pay a head tax or jizya. But, they paid this tax in order to substitute for military service that they could not give since they weren’t Muslim. In contrast to European countries, Muslims, Christians and Jews generally lived in peace under this system. And, the empire had a focused belief system that united its vast different elements.

Such a system seemed to provide for both the needed consistent values of the empire and a recognition of religious reality. In this system, it was recognized that people cannot make decisions without a religious background.

50 comments:

Al caPWN said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."(1st amendment)

I agree with this post by JZ for the reason that in a democratic society, (i.e. U.S.), the government has an obligation to obey the will of the people. So, the first argument you bring up, Mr. Zucker, is "Christian organizations have a huge influence on the Republican?Democrat party in America." Furthermore, since the majority of America is Christian, than it would be in their best interest of the candidates to be Christian. It would also not be far off to say that if a majority of America was Buddhist; they would be Budhist. So, this just reinforces that the church and state are one in our country. Because it will always revolve around the will of the masses. So as long as a country has at least one religon within it(and is a government for the people), there will never be a seperation because the majority religon will always be dominant and interfere with law-making. If it came down to law that will affect two religons, the state will always respect the majority in law-making. Thus, no complete seperation between the church and state could exist.

-Jeremy Molayem, Period 4
-this argument is not "sucktastic"

JFF said...

I agree that there can never be a complete separation between Church and state, but we should nonetheless work to achieve as large a distance between religious and political decisions. Of course, since most Americans are Christian, they are swayed by religion. Religious leaders and authorities dictate views on many issues, so it is natural that the followers tend to believe this. Since these religious decisions are typically based on morals, the positions of the people are also based on morals. Therefore, leaders who are influenced by religion are also influenced by morals. Now at first this might seem acceptable, but morals are always based on personal opinion. While some that claim morals can stop things like genocide, an overly large focus on morality can lead to extremism, fascism, and the things it tries to prevent. If a majority of people agree on a certain point of morality, then if they use their morality to make laws they are forcing their views upon others, the definition of fascism. A position of blind acceptance can work when one is in the majority, but, eventually, one will lose power and be in terrible position. There will not be an uproar by others because the morals of the majority can be used to slowly kill off (or at least weaken) the periphery. It is much simpler to decide matters from a simple, utilitarian perspective. Whatever improves or saves the lives of the most people is the best decision. This obviously blocks off possibilities like genocide (Why would you kill off working people, or even kill people at all?) It would not justify truly wrong decisions because those would degrade the quality of life of a portion of society. If morals are necessary, a secular system of human rights can still be used to supplement policymaking, but acceptance of religion in policy is a step backward.

I agree with Jeremy that whatever religion is prominent will gain power, but that is an unfortunate situation. It is in the interest of people as a whole to work toward secular policymaking. If people simply accept that we cannot change, we will never be able to make any progress.

Jan F-F, Period 4

<<===tHe JeDi===>>> said...

I agree with your point that states it only takes one religion to influence government, and in our case, that religion is Christianity because it makes up the majority of our country. I think that although it is clear that church and state is separated, no one can disagree with the fact that political decisions are based on religious values and morals. So really, there is not much of a separation even though churches may not hold power, they can certainly influence political decisions of those who do hold power. And as Jeremy stated, "its in the best interest of the candidates to be Christian" because it will ultimately get you more votes if you "say you believe" their values. However, once in office, a moderate Christian may revert back to his old values and morals, and may not pay attention to what the Church has to say on certain topics. One thing that is certain though is as Mr. Zucker pointed out, is that it is impossible for multiple religious values to affect government choices because their would be an outburst of criticism from the people.

<<===tHe JeDi===>>> said...

Lucas Cielak, period 4 (above)

sora the hedgehog said...

I have to agree with Jan on this one. Sorry JZ, I'd agree with you, but, eh, I'm just not, you know, feelin' it today, though, I will say, I do agree that separation of Church and State is fictional, but not with you, just Jeremy and Jan. Anyways, I have to agree with Jan on the fact that there can never be a separation between church and state...unless the entire country was atheists, but come on, what are the odds of that? There's bound to be at least one person who wouldn't be atheist, just as there's bound to be at least one terrorist in the world no matter how hard we try. And I think that's what Jan is trying to get at when he says that we should still try to do so. I mean, even though there's going to be at least one terrorist out there, we should still try to stop them. But if there's two things I disagree with, it's that 1. On a smaller note, we are a democratic REPUBLIC, Jeremy. 2. I have to disagree with Jan. ¿Qué? "But wait, didn't you agree with him?"
Yeah, I did, but I'm only agreeing with him up to that point. Seperating Church and State is bogus. Bogus I tells ya! Bogus! Since our government and our population are mostly Christian (I mean, come on! Even our founding fathers were Christians!), separating the church and state is like saying that we have not learned from the past, that we are unable to change our ways from our previous errors. Mind you all who DARE disagree with me, you're telling this statement to not only America, but to the WORLD when you say, "Separation of Church and State. Yeah!" And there's gonna be a whole bunch of pissed off CHRISTIANS, namingly Catholics, who will disagree with your disagreement on my disagreement with Jan. Try saying that five times faster. But seriously, saying that church and state should be separated is like saying that people don't trust religious leaders to lead the way. Sure, they screwed up a crapload of times, but people who say there should be separation are saying that people who screw up are unable to change the errors of their ways. They're saying once a screw-up, always a screw-up, in my opinion at least. Now I know "Jesus'" (a.k.a Mr. Portman for all those in period 5 who've been sleeping under a rock) class may be boring-Cameron-and we may not pay attention-Cameron-, but if there's one thing I've learned, and I do pay attention in his class Cameron, it's that the church should be involved in politics-isn't that right Cameron? If we separate religion and politics, then what would happen to those in poverty? Without religion, politics would just ignore these people. Religion is the reason why we help homeless people. Our Christian new testament and bible, the Jewish torah, and the Muslim's five pillars teach that we should help the poor, be it alms, support, food, shelter, etc. As stated in the bible from Dt. 24:19, we should help the widow (poor), the orphan, and the alien (not the illegal ones, just the legal ones-this isn't in the bible, I just added it in). Without that teaching, or any religious teachings for that matter, we would just toss these people aside and ignore them. For all those who want to disagree with me, I have to say this: even though religion should be involved and not separated from politics, they should know not to become power hungry (again) and take away political powers. Let religion deal with religion, but still be involved in politics, and let politics deal with politics. If you've lost track, which you probably have, here's a sum up: no separation. separation=bad. separation=saying no one can change their ways. separation=saying that we're dumb and can't change. church should be tied in with politics as a voice for those that politicians won't speak for (ex. homeless, poor, people in poverty). And if you do try to disagree with me, read through my entry and try to find warning signs (Hint-DISAGREE). There's one thing I'd like to add. Sure, since this country is mostly Christians, the government is going to be mostly Christians. Same goes for any religion for that case. I can see where some people will get at this. "That's why there should be separation. The religious minorities will get upset and blah blah blah." Unfortunatly, it's something we have to deal with. The only hope to prevent something like that is that the dominant religion doesn't go power hungry.
OK, ok, I'll say it: JZ I agbleh. JZ I agreleh. Sorry, still not feelin' it. Oh yeah, ya little stinkers who try to disagree with me, you disagree with me, you're disagreeing with the way muslims think and you're disagreeing with "Jesus".
Cameron, I'm just kidding! Your the only one I know, besides Colin, that's in Period 3 Portman. No hard feelings OK?
Oh yeah, about those Halo quotes, I'll still be using them. It's just I'll be using other "random" quotes from now on.
Chibi Katara-"Oh tiny Zuko! You're so cute!"
Zuko-*grows huge and out of Chibi form* "I am neither cute nor tiny!"
Chibi Iroh (Uncle)- "You are very cute, my tiny nephew." *Zuko shrinks back into chibi form*
Avatar the Last Airbender short: Bending Battle
*sigh* Poor Mako.
Christopher Tan, Period 5

sora the hedgehog said...

In case you're wondering, Mako is a Japanese actor who acted as a Japanese soldier in movies, and in this case, Iroh (best Avatar character). Unfortunatly, he died before the end of the 2nd season of Avatar. Oh yeah, Michael (yes, you Porterfield), have you noticed the similarities between Avatar and Naruto? (Ex. Rock Lee and Ty Lee, and it's not just the names) If not, search Deviant Art for it.

London said...

I agree with your point about how the government has to obey the will of the people. I agree with your opening statement, "Separation of Church and State is a both a fiction and an undesirable element of any political system." It seems to be true that today in the US religion and politics seem to be one. People care about what faith certain candidates believe in. I also think that if you were to run for president of the US you would be at a great disadvantage if you were to believe in any other religion besides Christianity. The majority of the US follows Christianity and with that so does our government. This all ties in with your statement "all of these churches have a commonality of Christianity." It is very evident in our society today.

The opinion of al capwn seem to tie in with the same ideas as mine. I agree very much with his opinion, "Christian organizations have a huge influence on the Republican?Democrat party in America." Furthermore, since the majority of America is Christian, than it would be in their best interest of the candidates to be Christian." It is exactly was trying to make clear about the US.

B.C. said...

dear jz,
i agree on your point that there is not a complete separation of church and state in our society. Christianity is the dominant influence because we have christian origins. one of the main reasons that the founding fathers created the 1st ammendment was to keep the different sects of christianiy ie. protestants, catholics etc. from fighting over political power in the newly founded country. America has depended on this system because it seems to be working. I agree with jeremy when he said if the majority of americans were buddhist then the government would have buddhist influences.
I admit we have a lot of christian influence, but our country tries its best to keep a non prejudical stance towards all religions. If we had one state religion and tolerance of all others like the ottoman turks we would have a power struggle no matter how organized we were. The other religions not in political power would eventually become jealous and want power. This has happened again and again in history. Although we dont have a total separation of church and state we try our best to create the best society we can. Our system so far is working.

Benjamin Coupe Period 5

RussianDF said...

JZ,
I agree that our country does not have a complete separation of church and state. That is because no country that has faith will able to accomplish that. IN America, the church will always have some influence over the government and vice-versa. I agree with Ben Coupe when he said:"I admit we have a lot of christian influence, but our country tries its best to keep a non prejudical stance towards all religions." That is one of the differences between our country and medieval Europe. Here, the church's word is never the final say. Also, I must add that the still has a huge influence over the world, but only in the religious sense. Today people are not likely to listen to the Pope about political advice. The last time the Pope said something about Islam actually made things much worse...
So to conclude, there will never be a complete separation between church and state as long as people have faith.

Daniel Fotinich
Period 4

Logan said...

i agree with that no matter how hard America tries to rid government of the influence of religion, we still will never have a complete seperation of church and
state. Religious values and beliefs are essentially what determine American's views on important issues such as abortion. Our presidents almost always determine their views on an issue by determining how they feel about the issue based on their religious
beliefs. Though there are a lot of different religions practiced in America, all of the different
sects of Chrisianity make up the vast majority of the population, therefore, until this changes it is
unlikely that we will see a Muslim or Jewish president anytime in the near future because the American people obviously want a president who will make decisions that are beneficial to them. Because most people in America are believers in the Christian faith, they want a Christian president who will support their Christian values while in office. Overall, because religion is so important in political issues, I believe it is utterly impossible for a country in today's era to have a complete separation of church and state.

Logan Mccabe
period 5

Rude said...

i agree with you Mr. Zucker. There is absolutely no way we can fully separate church and state. You see, in America, politicians make political decisions but how are they influenced to make that decision? Through religion. They only way to separate church and state is to become like one of the civilizations in 1984 or any other book/movie that depicts the future as a bleak, non-unique time where everyone is the same, with the same looks, backgrounds, and beliefs. I can only speak for my self, but does anyone want to live like this? No.

I believe that we can minimize the effects of these influences, though. People can choose to not swear on a bible or say "under God" during the Pledge of Allegiance.

I disagree with Chris Tan. I believe that since America was founded because people wanted RELIGIOUS freedom, there has to be a separation of church and state even if it isn't that helpful. The illisuion is important and also, what if there wasn't? I would not be here most likely and eventually people would start forcing conversions or higher taxes based on belief. That isn't the American way. With out different religions, Pennsylvania would not have been founded. Having multiple religions in AMerica works as a checks and balances system. We are notified if something goes against a religion.



Matt Rude
Period 5

Dylan said...

I agree with you aswell on this post becuase everyone here has almost said it there is no such thing as a totally nuetral government. Although I do think that church and state together are not acceptable butI actually think that is a god thing that some of the decisions made are based with moral value. It would be like robots running the government although the technical laws may be fair they would be without compassion. Also like you were saying that it wasnt impossible to have a religious government I dont disagree but doing it today would just be a major step back in our civilization and there is no justification for it. I agree with lucas that the reason that christian moral overtake any other religions in this country simply because it is the majority.

Dylan said...

dylan price period 4 for the one above

leaningtower55 said...

Responding to your statement about Christian organizations having a huge influence in our government parties, I definitely agree with Jeremy's statement that separation between church and state can't really exist because the majority religion usually takes over. For example, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, and Nigeria (all having a large population of muslims) have imposed Sharia laws in some of their states, therefore favoring their country's majority religion. Even Turkey, a secular country, has considered switching to Islam being its national religion because of the majority. Almost every country has a government based on religious morals.
I also agree with Jan's statemnt about how we should work to achieve a distance between religious and political decisions. if we were established as a secular country, then we should follow political, not religious ideas. Jan also said that morals are based on personal opinion and that an over-focus on nmorality in a government can have devastating results.This is also true. Just think about the Athenian Democracy, the ealiest form of Democracy. Though it had morality, it was not a religious form of government. Over time, governments like the United States' have instilled religion into their democracies.

stephen said...

I agree with JZ that a seperation of church and state is undesireable. Because so many people are religious (primarily Christian)in the US, it is necessary for the political candidates to be religious to win votes.
However the system the Ottoman Empire wouldn't work very well for modern times. If the US was split up into different territories with completely different leaders, cultures, and laws, I don't think we would be united as well as a country. There is already enough conflict between Republicans and Democrats. We don't need more fighting between a bunch of communities with different belief systems. I think a system of different communities is not needed for our leaders without a religious background.
I agree with lucas that the only reason Christian morals are predominant is because America is full of Christians more than any other religious group. If America was predominantly Muslim, we would all be wearing turbans and reading the Quran.

Stephen Shigematsu
Period 5

Bronson said...

Dear Mr. Zucker,
I would definitely have to agree on your point that there is not a complete separation of church and state in our American society today. Christianity has been/is the most the dominant influence of our culture because we have Christian origins in our historical creation. A key reason is due to the fact that the founding fathers wanted to distribute equal power between different religious sects such as: Protestant, Catholics, Lutheran, and others including Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Today, America has depended on this system because it has not caused much controversy among religious groups. I would have to agree with Coupe here because there is definitely no doubt that we have a huge Christian influence on our society. Although Christianity is the dominant religious power in America, our country has done an amazing job at showing tolerance to different religions. If we only had one religion, people would become jealous and want to over-throw the government as we have seen in history before. As a whole, our country does an amazing job at supporting the beliefs of other religions and not empowering Christianity too much. Thus far, our system has been successful.

Bronson Green
Period 5

kearney asada said...

Jz, I gotta agree with logan mccabe on this one, which also agrees with you so everything works out fine.

Any notion of Church and State being separated is purely fictional, and anyone believing this concept is either in a state of denial or madly insane. America is a great example of a place where we try to let people choose their own religion and keep it separate from political matters, however this is inconceivable. Everyone follows some sect of religion, even if you are atheist. That is still a belief.

Understandably so, we are a country dominated by Christianity and all the sects of which it is composed. Politicians will make decisions that are inevitably influenced by the religious beliefs one follows. We still look to the Pope for guidance even in political matters. George Bush is a Protestant, and there is no way that some of his decisions are not based upon his sect of Christianity. We also look at Muslims with suspicion, and i challenge anyone that denies we don't. It is unfortunate, but we still do; Muslims can be shunned and degraded based on events occurring in the Middle east and events that have occurred previously, which were themselves influenced by religious beliefs.

The idea of separation of church and state may be a necessary transition, but the likelihood of it happening is slim to none.

kearney asada said...

joseph kearney
period 5

Alopez said...

I do not completely agree with Mr. Zucker on that the United States works towards a separation of church and state. Although most of the people in the united states are Christan, which is passed onto politicians. So politics tend lean more to Christian values because of the people who got them to that position. But, President Bush who was brought up with the Christan morals, but by the separation of church and state, he has to send people to war even thought he knows that some of those soldiers might die in battle. President's Bush morals don't change but he has to consider what is best for the country knowing people will die, but he knows he must save the country from terrorism. But especially in America where is a place of diverse religions, each person would have their own certain needs of faith to live there lives. And by separating the government, that's the only way you could achieve it. Its the Government's responsibility to give us the freedom of religion.

Alex Lopez
Period 4

The Ballster said...

Dear JZ,
Although you make a strong point, I disagree with your argument that religion and state should be integrated. However, I do agree with you that complete separation of Church and state is fiction. In our democratic society, it is almost a requirement for a presidential candidate to have some religious background, and because our society is predominately Christian, most candidates are Christian. However, I only believe this is necessary because religions provide a good sense of moral values and practices. This moral value can be learned from nearly any major religion such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. When a government decides to choose a state religion, many laws and opinions can be come very biased and the United States government does a great job of keeping biased opinions to a minimum. Just the fact that the United States has no state religion helps promote a culturally diverse society open to multiple opinions and thoughts. As for the Christian influence, the United States was founded by heavily Christian people with Western views and opinions, and after two and half centuries of a mainly Christian government, it becomes extremely hard to let go of these traditions and accept new ones. The system of complete separation of Church and state will never be perfect, but the closer we get to perfecting the system and diversifying our government, the better off we'll be. I disagree with Chris tan and agree with Rude in saying that this country was founded off of pilgrims looking for religious freedom, and to ruin this tradition would probably end in this country's demise, especially because of the numerous followers of different sects of many religions.

Matthew Ball
Period 5

connor said...

I think that many people in today's political system think that religion impacts many people's decisions about voting. I believe that religion does impact our political system, but not as greatly as the democrats would hope. Some people vote republican because they are religious, others because they are stupid and like George Bush.

If we tried to unify the U.S. under one religion, there would be chaos because America has been free for all religions since it was founded, People have been accustomed to believing whatever they choose. They might even be a rebellion.

It's true that there can never be a true separation of Church and State, but it isn't that big of a deal because it hardly has any influence.

I, therefore, disagree with the Jedi, unifying under one religion would be a disaster.

Period 4

I don't even know Chris Tan but I think he is very annoying. When I take over the world, he shall be obliterated. He writes too much, too.

Manalo said...

JZ,
I agree with your argument that a separation of Church and State cannot be used in any government. Some of the leaders and representatives in our government, or in any government, will have their ideas based on religion. This is because these leaders follow a moral system that is based on the teachings of their faith; and these leaders may base their political role on their religious values, brining in a sense of religious influence in the political systems.
And I agree that the United States has a heavy Christian influence, but as Bronson said, America is doing a great job for showing tolerance to the variety of religions practiced here. Without this tolerance, some citizens that do not follow Christianity may want to wage war and have uprisings and rebellions; America, then, won't be unified and may have political disruption.

Patrick Manalo
Period 5

Otaku14 said...

I agree with what you and many other people said; our country does not have complete seperation of church and state. We can somewhat see this though if we look at our countrie's origins. The Puritans who were the first people to settle in America were highly religious. Nothing can ever really go far from its roots. An example of this is the fact that Puritan influence still exists in America today. The fact that American children go to school is because of the Puritans.

Even if the U.S. was under the system of the Ottoman empire it probably wouldn't work that well. There is the fact that people would have to pay another tax and that would definitley aggravate some people. Another thing is that the reason that this system might have worked before was because Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all somewhat alike, but if you incorperate some other religions in there like Hinduism and Buddhism it might not work as well.

I agree with Ben's point about how if this system was in effect there would be a constant struggle for power. What would make it even worse is that all the religions have varied beliefs and if those beliefs would conflict then that would lead to an everlasting power struggle

Michael Porterfield Period 5

Colin said...

It is true that you will ever be able to fully rid politics and religion. We live in a republic where we elect people to represent us. Religion is a major aspect in everyone that influences that way you think, even if you are agnostic or atheist that still makes up a part of who you are. Religion will influence politics because religion influences people. It is important to have a government that represents all the people in order to create a fair government, but our government is certainly not equally represented. Most people within our government are white Christians, which is not fairly representing our country. This may be for many reasons, maybe not enough people vote and that is why they are not receiving the representation that they should. Separation of Church and State is the absence of any one Church having direct influence over a government. The notion that we have a government filled with people from the same Church is inaccurate. Many people in our government are from different denominations. No one Church, Temple, or Mosque should have a direct say within our government. Religion will impact our government through the belief’s of the people who run in, not by organizations.

I agree with Michael Porterfield that the system set up in the Ottoman Empire would not work in modern day America. There is no chance that people would agree to abolish the right to religious freedom that is at the root of our society.

Colin McGonigle
Period 5

Sweet N' Low said...

Mr. Zucker, of course I agree with you when you say that "Separation of Church and State is unite all of America under one God, one religion, America would die. If American citizens were forced to convert to a religion, sure those of that faith might be happy, but what of those who are not? What are we to do with them? force them to convert using violence, kick them out if they don't obey.Lets look at the L.A. Riots, people going crazy in the streets looting, stealing, beating people, no imagine that but nation wide. Not a pretty sight.Now of course, the L.A. riots were not fought over religion, but like the L.A. Riots, they were fought over a decision made by our government a decision that clearly show it was in favor of one side over the other. The L.A. riots are testimony to the fact that if government passes laws,or make decisions that that show their allegiance to one race (or religion) there will be repercussions. It is built into the constitution of America that Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, this is built into the foundation of America and if one were to remove that foundation of that building, boom, it comes crashing down, so yes, politics will be influenced by religion, but as long as no law is passed clearly stating that one religion is better then the other or one forcing all to practice a religion. America should run as it does now, like a dirt bike traveling down a mountain, couple of bumps yes, but all over a pretty smooth ride.
I agree with Mr. London when he says that "I also think that if you were to run for president of the US you would be at a great disadvantage if you were to believe in any other religion besides Christianity." Most of America is some kind of Christian and showing allegiance to any other religion openly always seems to bring up some sort of controversy. You make an excellent point Mr. Zucker when you mention the newly elected Muslim representative brought a Quran when he was sworn into office. It would seem that after years of Christin faith being somewhat intertwined with the government in America, most Americans turn a blind eye(No Pun intended Mr. London) toward the influence of the church in American politics.

-Zachary" Sweet N'Low" Wilson
Period 4
Boom

mchogsta said...

First of, I will explain why I think a separation between Church and State is desirable. In religion one is subordinate to God the higher being and absolute ruler. If our government became a theocracy the members of the government would argue that they are leading in the name of God. Having this as the goal of the government would mean that the people would become subordinate to the government whose rule would become absolute. The fusion of Church and state makes the line between God and the government hazy because the government would assume the powers of God by stating that they are simply carrying out his will. This is similar to when the Popes of the past used the belief that they are the closest to God to get involved with any matter they wish because God reigns supreme over everything and they are earthly representatives of God.
In the United States there is a Christian influence, but this influence doesn’t stretch far beyond getting candidates elected. Obviously candidates from the Republican and Democrat parties would want to appeal to as many people as possible to get elected. Seeing that the majority of Americans are Christian it is logical that they would want to appear to lead a healthy Christian life. In this way religion influences the government; the majority of people want to have a Christian in control of their country. If the majority of people want a candidate who is an avid golfer, you can bet that you would be watching Mrs. Clinton discussing an exit strategy while enjoying 18 holes with Bill on TV.
Chris Tan you argued that Church and State should not be separated. One of your reasons was that, “If we separate religion and politics, then what would happen to those in poverty? Without religion, politics would just ignore these people. Religion is the reason why we help homeless people.” Now, my problem with this statement is that you are basically implying that atheists don’t care about the poor. It’s true that religions have stated that you must help the poor, but why did these beliefs come to place? I’ll tell you why; it’s because humans in the course of history have deemed it correct to help those in need. Atheists are not apathetic by nature because they don’t believe in religion. Religion does teach people to be moral but these morals have appeared from correcting mistakes made in the past and the evolution of the ideas of mankind. Believing that atheists aren’t willing to perform good deeds because they do not have the motivation of getting into heaven implies that Catholics only do good deeds so that they can get into heaven (I can’t really catch the Lutherans out on this though).

Marcus Högsta
Period 5

Kevin M. Hernandez Period 4 said...

Mr. zucker,

I agree that the separation between Church and state is "fictional." Like Bronson Green said, Our culture is heavily influenced by the Christian religion. Also, the Republican party gets many votes because of its Christian morals and those people who value those highly. I also agree when you say that such a separation between Church and State would be undesirable because many civilizations in the history of the world, such as the Islamic empire and the many European emires. Once again, I agree with you on the point that our culture is predominantly influenced by the Christian religion, and not multiple religions as some would believe. The Christian religion that dominates our culture because of our Puritan influences of the first settlers of our country. The Puritans affected many aspects of our lives today, such as our voting system and many other things. So, overall I agree with many of the arguments you posted this week. Go Mr. Zucker!

Kevin M. hernandez Period 4

trojans07 said...

I would have to agree with you in the fact that church and state are not separated. If it were separated we would be even more corrupt. Other than a belief, religion is a good way to keep a check on people.

The government is not allowed to support any one religion because first of all it goes against their amendments and second it could cause major conflicts between different religious groups. Favoritism is not the best way to run a country.

Second of all you state that the Ottoman Empire was able to survive with many different religions within its boundaries. One thing that we have to keep in mind is the fact that that happened a long time ago and we now live in the 21st century. Next of all, we are all connected through the media and sooner or later one religion would become more prominent than others, thus leading to problems and even civil wars.

I would have to agree with Bronson, since he states a very important fact. He believes that the US is doing a good job maintaining religious tolerance because if it wasn’t for that we might be at war right now. We have people that come from many different places of the world and that follow different religions so religious tolerance is the way to go.

Salvador Valle, Period 5

Clint Rosser said...

I do agree with JZ that the ideal of complete separation of state is in and of itself a complete hoax. However, I do not believe this is self-evident purely in the making of moral and just decisions. Just because someone is atheist, does not mean that they are evil of want to hurt people or make mean decisions. There are may atheists who probably make more just, moral, and “religious” decisions than actual Christians or followers of any faith for that matter.

Religion does influence the government, and that is a fact. The important thing is that we are slowly moving away from this influence. Separation of Church and State is not a reality, but we have made great strides to achieving it. This relates very well to what Benjamin Franklin said about perfection in “The Autobiography.” Franklin told about his strives for perfection and how he gave himself goals to improve in every aspect of his life. He attempted to be perfect in all ways. He later realized that this dream was impossible, but he was not angry for trying. He realized that the effort had made him a better man and had vastly improved his life.

The example of the Ottoman empire is an excellent apotheosis of making a power work efficiently with various religious groups present, but this system seems very likely to fall apart in our society. People in our society do not live in separate cities with people of purely their belief system (leave out the Quakers). We are all jumbled together into a large clump. People would not sit back and allow for the government to force them to move to a new home just to live with fellow (insert religious denomination here).

I agree with the statement made by Jeremy. The most abundant religion will always have the most influence and control. However, I do not believe that the religion itself holds much power. Even if politicians attempt to appeal to Christians, many Christians disagree with each other and have different religious believe as well with in the broad religion of Christianity.

Clint Rosser
Period 5

Tostitos said...

I agree that there is not really a complete separation between Church and State in our country. For one, our state was formed by a huge religious battle in Europe between the Puritans and everyone else. The Puritans (who were Protestant) settled here, and ever since, our society has been based on their beliefs. I do not think that it is a coincidence that all but one of our presidents have been Protestant. Our government is based on Protestant and other Christian beliefs. Our country does have some influence from a number of different religions, but this is only due to the freedom of religion we often take for granted. Since our government was based on Protestant beliefs, requests and ideas from other religiouns are often denounced or overlooked. As Mr. Portman tells all of us in Social Justice class, if religion and politics were not combined in any way, many important parts of our history would never have happened. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. was a minister in a Christian Church. He used his beliefs to help forward the Civil Rights movement. I agree with al capwn (a.k.a. Jeremy Molayem) when he states that the government has the obligation to obey the people, a people who are almost all religious. He is also right in saying that it usually depends on the majority. If the majority of people were one religion, the members of the government would reflect that majority. It is virtually impossible to separate what you believe religiously from what you think laws should be. Even if you attempted to discard them in your political affairs, they would still be in the back of your head, thus continuing to make an impact on your descisions.

Philip Tostado
Period 4

al CaPWNAGE said...

-blog=response

I would have to agree greatly with leaningtower22. He brings up an excellent point on religion and its affect on the government. I agree that the morality in a religion plays a key role within government. THe seperation of church and state needs to exist; the government needs to have a religous background. This background This background becomes so important because it can restrict government from doing immoral things because the religous population/majority will always provide a check on governmental affairs(i.e. gay marraige, abortion, euthanasia to name a few). So religous values and morals play an essential component to governmental policies. And for this reason I agree with leaningtower22.

-Jeremy Molayem, period 4

AAA said...

I agree with JZ for the most part and I definitely agree with how the Ottoman Empire was run. I believe there should be some religious beliefs in any government, so that to some extent moral decisions, not straying too far into the abnormal, can be made. Now, Jan said we don't need religion but a "simple, utilitarian perspective." Well, I had to first look up what utilitarianism (noun form of utilitarian) means and I found it meant, "The ethical theory that all action should be directed toward achieving the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people." This sounds great and sure seems like it would be beneficial to all, but is it? To be honest, I have a better word for a government like this: machine. Maybe I have seen movies like Terminator, where machines rule the world, too many times, but this type of government seems like it would more likey restrict freedoms and hurt humanity rather than help us. Sure alcohol is bad for people, let's get rid of that; and why let people listen to rap, it influences people to commit violence and do drugs. These are bad influences, but my philosophical view is that it is against us as humans to not discover for ourselves through our own experiences what is good and what is bad. Most religions set the basic standards of what not to do (don't go out and kill someone) and also what to do (help the poor.)

Andrew Aaronian
Period 4

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Sapunor said...

JZ,
I agree with you because I don't think Church and state will ever be completely separated. However, I don't think religion has as much influence over our government as we may think. First, I tried to think of any things Catholicism has influenced in the government, since this has the largest population of any other religion in the US(23%). I found that many of the things Catholics stand against haven't been changed by the government. Pope John Paul II talked with Bush to try to get him to not go into war. Bush is a different type of Christianity, but this shows how the Pope has a lot less political power than he use to. Also, the Catholic Church takes a stand against abortion and the death penalty, but this things are still allowed. If you look at our class, you may find many Catholics that are Republican and Democrat. Many of the Republicans might say that they are Catholic but they support the death penalty. Many of the Democrats might say they are Catholic but they are pro-choice. I think this shows how religion has become a weaker influence, because previously people would believe whatever the pope would say. Since religion is a weaker influence, politicians will be less influenced by the Church, however, the Church influence kicked in when I began to think about gay marriage and evolution. Gay marriage was outlawed, and this is obviously a decision that will ultimately be influenced by religion. Also, evolution has been removed from many school curriculums, including public schools, and this is religion influencing state(when it comes to the public schools).

I disagree with Jedi when he says that it is impossible for multiple religious values to affect government choices. Even though there is an obvious majority of Christians in the United States, other religions must also be heard. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the US, and it would be important to consider their religious values, because when our government decides things, the idea should be to consider everyone's point of view, and every religion's point of view should be recognized when a decision is made. I don't think criticisms will always be the response to a decision, because who knows, religions may share more things in common than we think.

John Sapunor
Period 5

Tyler said...

Another Friday night with the power of an argument at my fingertips...ah...power is sweet.

Alright - topic today is "Seperation of Church and state is not only impossible, but 'undesirable.'"

To this I disagree, especially to your argument concerning the Ottoman Empire.
Each eco-socio-politico-religico(?)situation of each indivindual peoples at each different periods of time are, (guess what?), each different. The Ottoman Empire streched its boundries across a sub-continent, and thus included possibibly the most diverse population ever in history. Therefore, a Sultan (leader of the Ottoman Empire) would be a fool to force its massive empire into a single religion. Also, diversity is the key force that drives countries with new ideas from different perspectives. Now it seems as if I am agreeing at this point, but I assure I am not. I am stating people CAN have their own religion - it pacifies people and is one less thing to worry about as an leader - but that government decisions are just that: governmental. If the Sultan of the Ottoman Emperor declared a tax, everyone obeyed. If the Sultan, however, passed a law for all peoples to fast during Ramadan, the other religions would protest. This could possibly lead to a rebellion. Therefore, government laws and decisions can ONLY be made with a neutral, non-theocratic perspective. Religion is a personal affair, involving only its followers. Because even if you do force someone to a religion by the sword, wouldn't they readily use it against you to do the same?

So anywho...just reading through a couple of the comments...hm...alright. A couple good points around these boards nowadays, eh? Ok, tost makes a driving point that very important parts of shaping a country (and therefore its beleifs) is religion. Without steady values "injected" into the political system by religious influences, we would have a moral-less, greedy society, which focuses on economic gain over human right intrests. This is currently what China is on the march to accomplishing. And all I leave all of you with is: At what point does a government draw the line between assigning what human rights are based on religious/value beliefs and purely economic motives?

And...with that I'm out.
Tyler Davenport
Period 4

Alex said...

I, along with many others, definrtly agree that there is no real separation of church and state in this country; HOWEVER, a theocracy or a melding of church and state will not work in this day and age. Yeah, it might have worked for the ottoman empire, but know there is so much hatred between religion that no matter who is ruling there will still be a division in status between religions. I agree with Ben Coupe that it does not matter what religion is but in power or how mucdh toleranceis given, there will always be a power strugle to come out on top. The United States has started the process that will eventually lead to a working society with complete seperation of church and state. The only system around now that has complete seperation of church and state is communism, which workss well as an ideal but almost impossible to put into practice. Mabye if we had good rulers who actually cared about the people it would work but never mind that.

What we need is a system that bases its laws on morality and human values, not religous values, human values. We need to make laws that fit with the human nature and not try to supress it. Half the stuff that happens in the United States happen because we are told not to do it. It's like a toddler who is told not to take a cookie. What's the first thing the todller wants to do? Take a cookie! Like how America has like a three times higher OD rate than the Netherlands and its legal to do drugs in the Netherlands!!! Thats because it is not illegal and a part of everyday life so they do not abuse it. That is human nature, and mixed with a few moral standards that a common to almost all religoins we have ourselves an actual seperation of church and state.

Alex Flynn
Period 5

jack said...

Mr. Zucker,
I agree with you on this topic nearly 100%. It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a "government" that is not connected to some form of religious belief. Here in America and in most other countries around the world, many of our basic laws are based off of teachings from faith. For example, most countries have laws against murder. This is a primary teaching of most religions. Religions that have their roots in the Torah (Old Testament) are, no doubt, familiar with the quotes, "Thou shall not kill" (Exodus 20:13) and "Thou shall not steal" (Exodus 20:15). The primary laws are simply an elaboration of the laws of predominant religions. Many people will argue that our laws are based on "human nature". People are not born knowing right from wrong. After all, what is "right" and "wrong"? Religion is the only factor that tells people right from wrong. Most Catholics believe that murder is "wrong" under most conditions. I can guarantee you that the terrorists that flew planes into the twin towers believed with all their heart that what they were doing was "right". Where do people get their beliefs of "right" and "wrong"? RELIGION is the answer. America bases its laws on what the majority of the people think is "right". In America and most other countries, there is clearly a connection between church and state, although we often pride ourselves on the separation of the two. The fact is that laws are created by people. People who write laws have their own religious beliefs. Whether purposefully or not, our laws are based off of their beliefs. I believe that the only possible way for the church and state to be totally separated is to have no laws at all. The definition of government is, "direction; control; management; rule." A government with no laws, is not a government at all.
Chris Tan argued that the Church and State should not be separated. His reasoning was, “If we separate religion and politics, then what would happen to those in poverty? Without religion, politics would just ignore these people. Religion is the reason why we help homeless people.” Clearly, without religion at all, we would not help these people. But the fact is, we do have religion. I think Chris meant to say that without religion (intertwined with politics), politics would just ignore these people. Is it a problem that politics ignores these people? I believe that government does not have a direct obligation to the poor. I agree with Chris when he says that "Religion is the reason why we help homeless people." With the amount of money religious establishments receive throughout the world, they do significantly help the poor. Once again, the only reason government does contribute to the poor, is because all government has its roots in, and has an evident relationship with religion.

-John Hawley, Period 5

wiznewski said...

I agree that Church and State cannot be separated. Almost all politicians are affiliated with some sort of religion and their decisions reflect their religious convictions such as issues concerning topics like the death penalty, gay marriage and abortion. The Church whether it be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. will always have influence in democratic societies such as the United States since the people will vote for leaders who share their faith and have similar beliefs. This is true because like you said Democrats are now trying to appeal to the more voters who were more religious and traditionally voted Republican. Also in most political polls, Atheists do not fare well with voters because voters want people with similar religions, and they probably do not feel that they can be trusted to have good morals and values.

However, I disagree that political decisions need to be made with a religious background. Faith cannot be used to solely justify decisions such as wars because faith is based on someone's own interpretation of their beliefs, but it can be used in combination with logical thought. Though our country was founded on religious freedom, we see today that many of the policies today are based on religious convictions such as issues like abortion and the death penalty. This can be good or bad depending on what religion you are. Luckily, the U.S. has not had major issues with religion because it is just a basis for decision, and not imposed upon people.

I agree with John that the Christian Church is losing its "power" in areas such as abortion
and the death penalty. No longer are people looking primarily at whether or not the issue is right or wrong based on faith, but what is best for the person(s) involved.

wiznewski said...

the previous comment was by Michael Wisniewski Period 5

Leviathan said...

Mr. z

I disagree, the blending of church and state would doom society. America Prides itself on religious tolerance. Of one religion was chosen to govern, the people would be rebellious. Those who are not Christian would see this move by the government as dishonoring their culture. You used the Muslims as an example, yes they allowed people to choose their own religion, but they also forced them to pay a tax. Why would people who dont follow the Christian faith agree to pay additional taxes when in the current system they dont have to.

Lets move on to the government. The government would suffer from the blending of church and state. First, as the church and state blended, the leader would have to be educated and be able to lead a faith and a country. Next, the morale principals of Christianity would limit the countries utilitarian potential. By this I mean, if the circumstance arises that in order to save five people we have to kill two civilian innocent of all crimes, the catholic church would disagree. Second, in the current system, like you said, the church and state are already partly blended. Lobbyist from the religions have some substantial weight in the government. Their voice is already heard and they are content, why would they agree to fully blend church and state. Lastly, and the most infamous example of blending church and state, the crusades. The church entered the political world to trigger the crusades which they labeled as a holy war. In the end the crusades were a failure resulting in tons of bloodshed.

Because of all of these reasons, blending church and state would doom humanity.

Tim Perille
p. 4

Leviathan said...

I disagree with the comments made by Dylan. In modern day society, their is a separation of church and state and people have yet to become robots in the government. Despite the separation political figures will retain their moral compass and will act accordingly. However, the main thing to recognize is that the church and state are separate and all parties are happy so changing that balance could hurt society.

Tim Perille
P.4

K-SWISS said...

Mr. Zucker,

I definitely agree with you on this one. Church and state can never be completely separated because religion is what we base our decisions and really our whole life on. The Catholic Church believes that abortion is wrong and it is the killing of life, but others argue that this is not life until a certain stage in the process. My point is that if you are Catholic you would probably have the same views as the Church, for the most part, and this would effect how you acted and what decisions you made. Every choice we make is influenced by what we believe in and this belief comes from the religion that we have faith in. So I agree with Kearney when he says that all political leaders have biased decisions. Religion is a major part in everyone’s life, if not the center of it and therefore, the world would not know right from wrong or what they believed in if there was no religion. The separation of Church and State is absolutely inseparable.

Kevin Swick
Period 4

MC HAIT said...

I think that to say that government and religion and separate in the form of government we have today is totally wrong. This is impossible to do because people base morals on their faith. These morals affect the way people in government make their decisions because religion gives them a set of right and wrong. People may say that there is not one common religion in a country such as America, but most religions share the same background on the treatment of people. For lawmakers, it is important for them to look at these principles because the laws will affect the people of all religions. To make religion not apart of government at all, law makers and people in power, will have no greater law to fallow when making laws. This is a big disadvantage because then society as a hole will be corrupted and return back to the ideology of the Middles Ages, that people are on the brink of damnation. Ask Jack said laws are created for the people by the people. This means that people who write the laws for the people must base them off their personal religious beliefs and the basis of the what most people think is right.
I agree with Jack because as he says, “It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a "government" that is not connected to some form of religious belief.” This is true because all religions have the same base which all people should be treated fairly and have a just society to live in. As law makers who represent people of many different faith backgrounds, should use the commonalities of all these to make society a better place. I agree with Jack and all other people that said it is 100% impossible to keep religion and state separated.

Jonathan said...

Let's start with a nice look at History itself to get things going...

History exists because we choose to look back on the past. I doubt it would be history if we were to look at the future. But, if we had all known how things would eventually turn out, history would be changed. If we had known in the beginning that religion would one day cause so much strife, we wouldn't have ever begun to practice it. I doubt that, if even Jesus knew that thousands of lives would be taken in His name and by those fighting His name, He would have lived a life worthy of a religion. No one plans for things to get so complicated.

But, stuff happens. Pride interferes. Wars are fought with religion as a scapegoat(ie crusades). The fact of the matter is that people would be willing to die for their religion. That's why we can't blend church and state. To effectively blend church and state, one would need one religion and one government. People wouldn't all drop their faith and convert to whatever the government tells them. They also wouldn't drop their faith altogether. If they had never developed religious views in the first place, this issue would be a hell of a lot simpler. Yet, there is religion and it will always be there to make things complicated.

As for trying to have one religion that is superior to others (like Islam for the Ottoman Empire) but still allowing others to coexist, this will not work for one main reason. The other religions will revolt. Mr. Alex Flynn says it well when he mentions interaction between faiths: "there will always be a power strugle to come out on top." Each religion will think it is the best and rebel. That plan won't work too well either.

And if all religions are equal in the eyes of the government, that's not really a mix of Church and State. It's kind of what we have in the US now. And the laws say that they're separate. And they are.

The end.
Jonathan Daroca
Period 4

Cameron L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cameron L said...

I agree with Logan when he says, “that no matter how hard America tries to rid government of the influence of religion, we still will never have a complete separation of church and state.” America will always be influenced by church in Government because religion is the basis of moral and ethical decisions. One example is murder; the bible says it is wrong thus we say in our society that it is wrong. Most laws that we have to abide by are derived from the bible. So unless we want complete anarchy in America we kind of need laws and moral values because without religious influence America would be just like Hollywood. And I know that it works out well for Hollywood… NOT (Borat reference). We have enough trouble dealing with celebrities acting immoral and breaking laws as it is. And if all of a sudden the Government of America began to go down that path there is a high chance people will rebel and anarchy will rise and we would be screwed big time.

*^*Cameron Lancey
*^*Period 5

The Mozenator said...

I will agree with you so far as to say that COMPLETE seperation of Church and State is extremely difficult if not impossible, but should we really throw it out the window just because its an ideal thats difficult to obtain? I find that the seperation of church and state though unattainable in principal is an important ideal to maintain. This ideal prevents any religion from OPENLY involving itself in our government and controlling important issues. Sure we say "In God we Trust" and we swear new representatives in on the bible, but these are symbolic gestures only. They certainly do not control policy-making in our country. Just because we say "God Bless America" doesnt mean we as a country subscribe to the doctrine of the Christian Church.

After reading what i just wrote one might ask themselves "Doesn't the American Government generally adhere to christian values?" and the answer is YES. HOWEVER, (and this is a big however) that is due to the nature of America as a DEMOCRACY not due to the blurred line between church and state. As Jeremy stated "The church and state are one in our country. Because [the government] will always revolve around the will of the masses." He is partially correct but thats the nature of a government run by the people. Any democracy will have its law making influenced by the religious values of the voters, but this does not mean that the America is a Christian state, simply that America's PEOPLE are prodominantly Christian at this time. The purpose of seperation of church and state is to clarify that the government is affected by the religion of the people, not that the religion of the masses is determined by the government. This is why it's so important to maintain

Ike Silver
Period 4

K-Fed said...

I don't know why all you guys are letting JZ brainwash you. Our country has a separation of church and state. Yes that is right I just said that. To explain let me remind you that in Europe around the time period we just studied, there wasn't a separation between the two institutions. The church was trying to gain political powers and control of land and the government was electing church officials to gain religious power. The idea of this separation was developed so the instituions wouldn't control the other as they did back then. Sure one might be able to influence the other but they aren't control what the other is doing directly. The government says not to house illegal immigrants but the church still does it. The church condenms abortion but it isn't against the law. The church and government have the power to control themselves because of this seperation.
I agree with Alex when he says the government and laws must be based on human values rather than religious ones. The hard part about this and why it doesn't happen in today's world is because no one can draw the line since everyone is biased in some way shape or form. Stuff like communism and that free iphone for clicking here sound good, but don't do as well in reality.

Kevin F. Hernandez
Period 4

Sukos said...

Yes it is true that we do not have a complete separation of church and state but our system does provide us with a unique way of government. Without religion in our government, a moral system of ethics would be lost to the sinful nature of mankind. However, a full involvement of Church in the government because minority religions would be ignored and the governemnt could fall into a crusader type war. So in esscence, the christian church most definitely has an influence on our government but cannot go any further than simply providing some sort of ideal system of social interactions. It becomes like a toothless tiger, meaning that it can be extremely powerful in it own right but doesn't have the literal power to do much at all. This is how OUR society needs to be run, and a change in this would result in changes that could cause widespread havoc.
Alex Kutsukos
Period 4

leaningtower55 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.