Exploring the Modern Notion of the Separation between Church and State Despite claims that America is a nation with a long and valued tradition of separation between church and state, the roots of this supposed separation inextricably lie within Christianity, rendering the proverbial wall of separation inherently, though perhaps not irrevocably, weak. America’s founding fathers may never have intended for church and state to be entirely independent of one another, as they undoubtedly, and indeed unfortunately, equated morality with religiosity. In building only a one-way wall, or a means of protecting religion from government without protecting government, and by extension the American people, from religion, politicians and voters alike have precluded the nation from becoming a truly tolerant participant on the global stage. In order for America to excel in this modern age of constant communication and fervent respect of world cultures, a newly formidable, two-way wall between church and state must be permanently erected.
Founding Separation America’s founding fathers sought to protect Americans from religious persecution similar to that which was experienced by the Puritans of England who would not willingly subscribe to the ideology asserted by the Anglican Church. In his article entitled “Wall of Separation Between Church and State”, author Judd Patton writes that “the purpose of the First Amendment was not to protect Americans, its institutions, its leaders, or the “public arena” from religion, it was to protect religion from government intrusion!....The intent of the First Amendment could never have been to separate Church and State in the sense of keeping religion and morality out of the halls of government” (Retrieved 7/8/09). Never did America’s founding fathers perceive religion as a threat to freedom. Conversely, the handful of men who both transcribed as well as signed the Constitution viewed religion as the effective backbone of order and morality.
Equating Morality with Religiosity At the heart of religion’s, or more specifically Christianity’s, continued intrusion into America’s public sector lies the unsupportable fear that lack of strong religiosity is tantamount to lawlessness. In his essay entitled “The Meaning of Religious Liberty”, Matthew Spalding supports this view and writes that “today, it is increasingly evident that there is a close connection between America's deepest social ills and the weakening of religious participation and the abandonment of traditional moral norms taught by religion” (Retrieved on 7/8/09). Yet, Spalding offers little evidence to support this connection. What is diluting the moral pool of America, and, more appropriately, is it not possible to be moral without being Christian? Though the population of America at the time of the Constitution’s ratification was predominantly Christian, the burgeoning diversity prompted by globalization, and subsequent prevalence of other major and minor religions, has rendered the American population the quintessential melting pot of ethnicities, cultures, and spiritual practices. Thus, why should Christianity remain inextricably linked to American government? Presumably, nations that hold Islam or Buddhism as their dominant religion are no less moral than America, as most of them are not in a state of anarchy. Why not proclaim Hinduism the national religion of America? Obviously, with nearly 80% of the American population claiming to be Christian, the answer to this lies in sheer numbers. However, with over 16% of the population claiming to be atheists, a national religion of any kind would undoubtedly, and has already, angered millions. The