Church and State: Always a Good Decision?

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Samuel Adams: Always a good decision. You've heard the phrase before, but only in relation to a beer commercial. Few remember that Samuel Adams was one of our great founding fathers. Son of a merchant and brewer and cousin to President John Adams, Samuel was a renowned politician in his own right. As a member of the Massachusetts Assembly, he was the first to propose a continental congress of which he was later a member. He was a passionate advocate of independence and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Last night, Glenn Beck used a quote from Adams on his program to describe tyranny and what happens when it runs amok. One particular sentence of that quote stood out: "The religion and public liberty of a people are intimately connected; their interest are interwoven, they cannot subsist separately; and therefore they rise and fall together."

What was Adams talking about? He was talking about church and state and how they cannot be separated. The state of America is a mess right now and it comes on the heels of banning prayer and religious recognition in public places. People in this country have actually been arrested for praying, something our ancestors were persecuted for in other countries and was a prime motivator for them coming to America. Even children songs about Jesus are now being replaced with lyrics praising Barack Obama, while Obama himself snubbed this year's National Prayer Day.

In the meantime, kids are beating each other to death with railroad ties in Chicago, and greed has put a stranglehold on our economy.

The other side of the argument suggests that if religion were more integrated in politics then religious persecution would prevail more and particular churches would influence our government and receive special favors. When John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was elected, a number of people feared the Pope would then have control over the United States.

The church and state separation debate is rooted in an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

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