Separation of Sect and State
by Stephen Williamson

Every nation has its own policy on religion. If we can learn from past mistakes, we can improve how religion is handled. Sometimes, the state focuses on a single religion, and causes other religions hardship. This policy has the noble intent of improving virtue and awareness, but we should never take away the religious freedom of others in the process. Other times, the state secularizes. This policy has the noble intent of guarding against past intolerances by empowered religions, but this causes all religion to suffer. What can we do?

The American dream is religious freedom. Not everyone shares this dream. Some think that other religions are dangerous. Others think that there is a proper time and place that constrains religious freedom. Can time or place rightfully constrain our freedom? Are other religions so dangerous that we would censor history? Think carefully. Wherever religion fails to prosper, it is there that we will see the consequences of that neglect. This is held to be true of our personal lives, but it is also true of our communities. Dark is the day when we no longer hear foreign teachings on the street, for this is a signal that our community has lost its zeal. Also, do we truly want our children exposed to a world without religion? When we secularize the schools, we also refuse religious values in, for the secular will always deny that religion has a place, and where religion has no place, we must look for another foundation. So, for as long as we remain a religious people, religion ought to have a place with our children.

Now, what can we do to protect our children? Focusing on a single religion causes parents of foreign religions to lose control of their children, because they begin to question what their parents teach them. However, secularizing the schools causes all children to drift away from all religion. This will require some insight. What if a single religion learned from history? What would its nations look like--what would its schools look like? You do not think this is possible? It is already written into law! Simply provide a clause that prevents the state from interfering in matters of religious division. This would create a different kind of wall, a wall that protected religions from one another. For this reason, such a clause would do two things. First, it would encourage religion. Second, the state would be forced to cease all manner of hostilities.

Imagine a world where religion was expected of us. Imagine a world where skeptics never went to court, and the devout freely expressed their religion in public. Imagine a world where every person knew the Ten Commandments because they memorized them in school. Imagine a world where every sacred text deemed relevant enough was read through by the end of high school, so that all parents would be accommodated and all other religions learned in tandem. Imagine a world that approved of and even expected the fear of the Lord. This is the dream of religious freedom. Not everyone shares this dream. However, those who do can be directed to that one clause that says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," understood according to its context clue: "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." All it needs is updated language for clarity.

That clause was envisioned for the purpose of creating a wall of separation, so that one religion would not be empowered to take hold of any others. It was written for our dream of religious freedom. If either state or religion gains dominion over the other, the other will be covered in darkness. We have seen it and hold it to be true, those of us who know where the children are going. Our children leave religion behind when they come of age. This should not be the case. Nor should there ever be another Spanish Inquisition. Our only hope is that neither state nor religion would be cast into darkness. We need a separation of sect and state.

By an ordinary writer who wants people to know the truth.

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