Separation of Church and State and the Power of Religion
“The thing to notice about a theocracy is that the “will of God” will always look suspiciously similar to the prejudices and ambitions of those who claim to know what God wants.” — Brad R.
“Religion is inherently dangerous to human society. If it is allowed to exist, it must be carefully controlled.” — AAJG
All religions claim to have unique, god-given legitimacy and the moral authority to carry out their “god’s” will. Of course, that is completely ridiculous, since there are no gods. Religion has perpetrated this hoax on the people of the world for far too long. Unfortunately for religion, the fact that there are no real gods, means that they (as religious entities or institutions) possess no real, intrinsic power or moral authority over us. In fact, religion (by itself) has very little authority or power over people, and that which they do posses is only perceived to exist. It exists only in the minds of those who become fooled by, and entangled in, the madness of religion.
Religions derive their actual power and authority over others through infiltration into our governments. By becoming intertwined with a people’s government and laws, religion acquires official legitimacy and a portion of that government’s actual power and legal authority over the citizenry. The degree to which “separation of church and state” (a very beautiful concept) exists and is held dear and actively practiced within a society, religions are either held in check or they (whether state-sanctioned or otherwise) hold legitimized, powerful, and oppressive control and legal authority over the people within that society. Where absolute separation of church and state exists, religions are far less harmful to the citizenry, and they have no official or quasi-official legitimacy or authority to impose their will upon the people. Thus, they must rely on seduction and brainwashing (especially the children) to obtain and maintain their membership, and they must convince their members to do their bidding — but they possess no legal authority to punish or harm people, or to impose their will onto that society. Granted, the predatory seduction, indoctrination, fleecing, and manipulation of the naïve, the desperate, the weak, the disaffected, the gullible, and the willing are still bad things which should be opposed and publicly exposed, but they don’t represent the “raw power” that government can give them — the power to do us real harm. Where there is little or no separation of church and state (such as in Iran, which combines elements of a modern islamic theocracy with so-called “democracy”), religion is overwhelmingly powerful and, under the authority it gains from its intimate marriage with government, it imposes its morality and its will on the people of that nation with brutality and without mercy. There is not a single theocracy on earth whose citizens are happy, equal, and free; and there never has been. Think about it.
Thank goodness we live in America where that doesn’t happen, right? Well, sort of. Religion is quite powerful in America and it affects our lives (through the power it derives from its affiliation with our government) in many ways, but it’s nothing compared to nations like Iran and others in that area of the world. The primary thing that holds such heinous religious atrocities at bay in America, I believe, is the fact that we have a fairly healthy respect for the concept of separation of church and state (though I believe it should be made absolute and written into our constitution as inviolable). Were it not for that, we might be in very deep shit too. And don’t be fooled into thinking that the difference is that christianity is the dominant religion here, rather than islam. While it is true that christianity appears to be far more “evolved” and civil than brutal and merciless islam (at least in the current era), it is also true that christianity has a past (and a present) of its own; and if given free reign and the legal powers of our government there is no imagining how it might devolve into an (old testament) islam-like religion again. Don’t forget that both christianity and islam are both abrahamic religions that have many things in common — doctrinally, and in terms of shared lineage, prophets, etc. No, the real difference, in my opinion, is the degree of separation of church and state that we enjoy in America — which greatly limits the power of religion over us. Still, religion (and not just christianity) has been able to infiltrate our government and laws (to a degree) and impose its will on us in much more subtle (but still very real) ways — and it is constantly striving to gain greater power over us through a deeper, more intimate and permanent marriage to our government. So the same problems and concerns apply here in (quasi-theocratic-ish?) America under the constant and tremendous political and social influence of christianity, judaism, and islam (and other religions) on so many areas of our lives — just to a far lesser degree than countries whose government and state-sanctioned religion are fully and happily married.
How much more free and peaceful might American society be (or human society for that matter), if not for the pervasive, stifling, and deleterious influences of religion and its supporters on humanity. Imagine an America — or a world — in which there was still freedom to practice the religion of your choice (though I can’t imagine why any thinking, rational person would want to), but in which there was also total and absolute separation of church and state that was specifically described in and specifically mandated by the constitution — to ensure that religion (ALL religion) is permanently excluded and held separate from our government and its power and legal authorities over us. Imagine if, in America, there were:
- No official recognition of religion whatsoever.
- No laws based on religious precepts, or which are designed to support a religious philosophy.
- No lobbying of government officials or agencies by religious organizations, groups, or individuals (or their representatives).
- No donations or campaign support to government officials or to candidates for political office of any kind by religious organizations, groups, or individuals (or their representatives).
- No special tax breaks for religious organizations, groups, or individuals.
- No pro-religion speeches given by public officials, while acting in their official capacity or while using taxpayer funds or assets.
- No advocating of any religion or any deity as part of other official speeches given by government officials.
- No special laws designed to create the illusion of “equality” of religions or the legitimacy of any religion.
- No government-sanctioned prayer or official religious ceremonies or events using tax-payer funds.
- No special allowances made by the government for the practice of one’s chosen religion (even if the government is your employer).
- No official recognition of religious holidays or special occasions.
- No mention of or practicing of religion in public schools and no special allowances made by the school for the practice of one’s chosen religion during school hours or on school property.
- No military or congressional chaplains paid for with taxpayer funds. (Civilian clergy could volunteer to serve as military chaplains as a sort “mission trip” and be fully and financially supported by their home congregations — which would probably be the first worthwhile thing they had ever actually done in their careers.)
- No prayers at official government events, which are part of the ceremony or event.
- No public officials attending religious events or ceremonies in an official capacity, or using taxpayer funded assets (including Air Force One).
- No taxpayer monies spent on religious holidays, celebrations, observances, or displays.
- No religious displays of any kind on any public property.
- No swearing of official oaths of office on religious texts.
- No inclusion of “…so help me god” in official oaths.
- No more “In God We Trust” printed on U.S. currency or any official document.
- No inclusion of religion in the political or governmental discourse or processes in any form whatsoever, except that which is designed to ensure the absolute, unconditional, and permanent separation of church and state in America.
Imagine an America in which the individual is guaranteed the right to practice their chosen religion, as long as they did so peacefully and within all existing laws, but in which there is no official recognition of the religions themselves (as entities or institutions) or special legal protections for them (as entities or institutions) on any level of government. Imagine an America in which the only laws governing religion were those which regulate, govern, limit, and control religious institutions and their activities — to keep them in their place and to protect the citizenry. Imagine the freedom and peace we might enjoy!
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
“I am here to challenge your comfortable and familiar perceptions and paradigms — to help awaken you — to make you think.” — AAJG