How high should the "wall" between church and state be?

Essay by fitzdogg85High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2003

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The age old concept of separation between church and state has been tested an enumerate amount of times, and on just about every level thinkable. For many years, the verdict always came out the same, religion and government have no place amongst each other. However, as of late, our President has set out to lower this wall, a very risky maneuver. Our founding fathers were the first to realize the danger in this, that is why they called for a wall between church and state, a wall that wouldn't be broken. Lowering this wall raises some scary questions to our nation. This is why the wall between church and state should remain relatively high.

When the Constitution was drafted, never once was the phrase "a wall of separation between church and state" ever used, but it was definitely implied. Just because it was never stated does not mean whatsoever that it was not one of the most underlying principles in the first amendment.

This language is taken from Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists, and has also been used by great men like James Madison. These men knew that this wall was essential to prevent such things as a statewide or nationwide religion. Our complete religious freedom must be protected, as promised under the clause of the First Amendment. The American people have known for years what would happen if the State established the Church like in England. Even though it was not recent history to them, they knew that England went so far as forbidding worship in private homes and sponsoring all church activities and keeping people under strict dictates. They were forced to go to the state established church and do things that were contrary to their conscience. This would simply cause chaos in today's society.

The wall between church and state must also stay high in our nation's public schools.

It is completely unconstitutional to allow things such as school prayer to appear in schools. It is impossible to accommodate every religion, therefore religion has no place in our schools. There is no need to offend innocent parties by imposing specific religious views upon them. Each and every student has the right to go about their day peacefully. Prayer has its place in silence, just simply not aloud.

The one area that needs not to be touched in the church and state argument is that of the usage of God in the pledge of allegiance and on our nation's currency. This simply serves as a symbol of morality in our nation. The intention is not to express religious views, it is simply saying that there is a higher power, and we should live by that moral code of conduct. There is no reason to change this because of the small population of immoral atheists out there. These are just universal views of how the American people should carry themselves.

On the issue of tax dollars for churches, the wall definitely must stand high. It is absurd to dish out millions of federal tax dollars so that children can go to catholic schools, or so a church can hold an addiction seminar. The wall must stand strong on this issue without exception. People in the community pay their hard-earned money to the government to allow for free public schooling. If that particular free schooling is not good enough, there are other options, like a Catholic school; the government just shouldn't foot the bill for it. Even in the case of poorer citizens, there are loan options and financial aid available through the particular school. The government has no need to step in with money. Moreover, the government should not provide free bussing to these schools simply because they are in the same region. They should provide their own bussing just like they receive separate tuition.

The latest move by President Bush to lower this long-standing wall involves the using of federal tax money to fund the building of church facilities under the condition that they will use it for a social outreach program. This will lead to nothing but pure conflict. Churches will begin asking the government for building aid, then use the space for whatever they choose. With the loose regulations we currently have in our system, there is tons of room for fraudulence.

In addition, Bush wants to give money to faith-based addiction centers. This is practically like paying people to impress their religious views on others. There are plenty of addiction centers available which don't discriminate based on religion, therefore the ones that do don't deserve federal tax dollars. If the wall is lowered in either of these situations, we become closer and closer to the age-old fear of a statewide religion.

In conclusion, the wall between church and state must always remain high on most every issue. The church has no place in government and likewise, the government has no place in the church. They are two separate entities which must remain separated for the good of this great nation. The minute we lower the wall in one respect, the closer we get to complete turmoil, and a lack of religious freedom.