Sunday, November 29, 2009

Analysis:Is the separation of church and state a current debate, or have we already settled on a proper balance?

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/23/kennedy.abortion/index.html


P.S. REMEMBER YOUR TAKE-HOME TEST IS DUE WEDNESDAY.

32 comments:

KLatour said...

It seems as though the separation of church and state is still a current issue because it is still being dealt with now. Although I believe Fr. Tobin has overstepped his bounds by telling Congressman Kennedy that he should no longer receive communion, the issue still remains how far or how much of an impact the church may have on one's rights (especially regarding abortion). Despite the lawful distancing of church and state, the church continues to have an impact on the issues of today, so clearly the proper balance has not been found yet.

Tyler Kehoe said...

Greetings from the site of the 2000 election voting debacle. Seperation of church and state will always be a debate. Religion and government have been argued for the past 1000 years. The problem is there is no compromise with these "social" issues such as relgion and its role in politics. For example, Kennedy is a hardcore Catholic who is for women's rights to have an abortion. His church is obviously seperate than his state. I can also agree with Kennedy as I am Catholic and believe that women should have the choice of an abortion if only their life is in danger. As the great philisophe John Locke believed, governnment should be seperate than the church or any relgion or non-religous. This debate will be fought for many years to come. See you all Wendnesday. Don't miss my half of the Conservative corner!

jmarczewski said...

The better half of the conservative corner (yes, me) agrees with the lesser half (yes, Kehoe); separation of church and state has not, is not, and will not be settled for a VERY long time. The reason we just concluded a chapter in our books called the Culture War is not because it took place a hundred years ago, or even a hundred days ago, but rather because it is directly affecting and influencing the choices we as Americans make from day to day. I think there is a difference between keeping religion out of politics and keeping politics out of religion: for instance, when Congressman Kennedy says he supports the Stupak Ammendment because he is a pro-life Catholic, that is reasonable and doesn't go against any "unwritten political laws." However, if the allegations against Fr. Tobin are verified and he indeed did refuse to offer communion to Congressman Kennedy, I think Fr. Tobin is allowing political choices to deviate him from his title as a religious officer. His job is to serve communion to his congregation, and I feel he shouldn't allow outside political decisions/choices to impact that right. This is just one example of the Culture War being existent to this very minute of our lives, something generations of the past and future will also be able to identify.

PS- Somehow I think we always knew Kehoe would end up in the state of confusion. :-D

aprichard said...

Whoa... I am not even going to bother reading that. Too much religion in politics, and I think I'll actually say what I think today. There should be a strict line between politics and religion. All the religious people should quit complaining about how they believe society is immoral because there is abortion, homosexuals, and drug addicts scattered amoung our population. In this day and age, we do not need religion in our politics because virtually every aspect of life has been determined by science. Except faith. The greeks worshipped Helios, god of the sun for bringin up the sun every day with his chariot. We all know that this does not happen and that there is no Helios pulling the sun through the sky. What is to say that this won't happen to your god. The greeks didn't think science would discredit their gods so why should you? Christianity should remain out of politics just as much as all other religions. If I was to write a book that would later be found in a cave with hallucinogenic mushrooms that said women were subservient, that the world was formed in 7 days and populated by the incest of an Adam and an Eve, and that said the world was flooded because people had turned into ogres and monsters; I would probably be called a Chauvinistic Pig and shunned by society. I will never understand how women can be comfortable being told that they are inferior to men because a god said so. Nor will I ever understand how the world recovered from the massive flooding or how Adam and Eve managed to create an entire race. Especially a white race. Genetics mutate from black to white, not the other way around. Great. Incest and white supremacy all sponsered by religion. And the church is worried that abortion is immoral.

So back to faith. Sorry to digress. That appears to be the only aspect of religion that remains prevalent in society, and is the only thing that keeps it in politics. When people finally figure out that there is no all-powerful being that is waging war on modern societies because of its sins, the world will be a much happier place. Seriously, think about it. No more bombing in Israel, unless they continue just for kicks, no more religious prejudism, no more war of muslims against protestants, no more lame excuses.
After my long anti-christianity monologue, I would like to summarise: The church should remain completely seperate from state and politics as a whole.

My monologue is just because I despise religion for injuring so many innocent people over an issue that is purely based on beliefs that vary from culture to culture.

Ryan Paprocki said...
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Ryan Paprocki said...

The separation of church and state is most definitely still a debate because in my opinion, this is literally the center of every single political debate. If I sat down with a conservative, we each write what we believe, and the direct reasoning behind why we think America should be like in said way and we ask eachother a million questions, we could find that central point to which everything leads back to (the Bible). I don't want this to sound biased but the truth is that conservatives want to impose their religious dogma onto everyone (and just America isn't enough for neo-conservatives) without any facts or evidence supporting their claim; it's an objective truth and it boggles the mind why anyone would think that's fair.

You know this whole thing about preaching small government by Republicans? They don't want big government beacuse the government is secular and they'd rather have everyone be indoctrinated into their religion. They hate free thinking that the public schools teach. Their "small government" talking point has absolutely NOTHING to do with simply maintaining the balance of power like they'd like you to think (and I mean the real Republicans out there, not the typical RINO which I believe that most Joe Schmo conservatives actually are). This may seem like a radical statement to make but if you look at what conservatives are ACTUALLY trying to do in Congress, combined with all of the big government that we've gotten from Republicans over the past 8 years, it's easy to make a logically consistent argument supporting this.

Conservatives point to the Bible as justification for a myriad of laws, which leads to a religious debate. As someone who has been in countless religious debates with people, several apologists, and even recently with a pastor at a local church, I can safely say that the atheist/secular (who knows the subject well) side always, unconditionally wins the debate along with a little insult to injury if desired. Once this objective truth is recognized, the entire conservative viewpoint becomes irrational. So isn't the real question; should we be running our country rationally or irrationally?

If anyone wants to call me out on any of this I highly encourage you to do so whether it be in real life or otherwise.

Here's some things to think about...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4RjaWY6GI8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C9ybS1sx_4&feature=related

Ryan Paprocki said...

Oh and Mr. Bretzmann, the definition of atheism is in fact the lack of belief in God, you were right I apologize. We are all atheists and theists as well in the technical sense (Caesar was considered a God by many, so assuming we abide by their definition of God, evidence points to Caesar's existence).

Famigliettim said...

the separation of church and state will always be a debate as long as they both exist. but it almost the same issue as liberals vs conservatives, the latter being the more orthodox. although now with the more liberal views of the United States, with the acceptance of homosexuals, drugs, and abortion, the church will again be more of an issue. Since this country was deliberately founded to be separate it will always remain as such it is just that some people would like it to be just the opposite with God as the head of government.

Astoiber said...

separation of church and state is still a major issue. Religion and government are basically the same thing- a dominant power set on controlling your way of life and value system. Until humans can break free from both church and state, this will still be an issue. The main problem now is that Christianity is infecting politics far greater than any other religion. In our government, there are far more christians than people of any other religion. This is not to say the others are any less harmful. i find the difference between religion and politics to be semantic because both attempt to control how people live. the problem isn't the separation of church and state. the problem is church and state. people need to learn to think for themselves as well as tolerate other individuals' personal beliefs.

In america, the religious right is attempting to impose their christian beliefs on to everyone in the country, christian or not. it is bad enough that conservatives can't back up a single social point they say, why force your extremely flawed ideology on the rest of us? and if there is a god. religion is the biggest insult to it.

ultimately, i couldn't care less if you want to worship jesus, thor, trees, satan or anything else for that matter, but as soon as those beliefs are imposed on another individual, we have a serious problem. we cannot progress as a species until we put our religious and political affiliations aside and work together for a better world.

Tereza said...

Evidently, the separation of church and state is still a current debate. In the situation at hand with Senator Kennedy and Bishop Tobin, I find it troubling that although Kennedy recieved the letter in 2007- it has surfaced now, during the healthcare debate that such a request had been made. Obviously considering the Catholic doctrine, it isn't completely unexpected that this circumstance would exist; however, because even the late Pope John Paul II had given communion to pro-choice Italians, the bishop's denial of communion to Senator Kennedy seems unreasonable. Not only that, denial of communion toward one of the most prominent publicly Catholic families in the U.S. weakens the Catholic church.
The debate is very current: regardless of how ancient religious practices seem in our very secular society. Social issues in our society engulf every religious/political debate there is, and as our country progresses- the issue of religion and politics will only continue.

JakeK said...

As long as gay marriage, abortion, and shopping mall santas are still argued about, separation on church and state will always be a debate. The joke of a priest, rabbi, and politician walking into a bar will always be just that, a joke. By the way Ryan, I had a nice chuckle about your comments on atheism and theism.

K-Iglinski said...

Seperation of church and state is a major issue in politics. By the way refering to what Ryan said I am not an atheist. I believe that if I were to devulge in my opinion that tomorrow in class i would have to explain myself to Ryan and I don't want to. So back to the question. Church is a major issue in politics. Refering back to the movie that we watched last week. Church played a major part in deciding what to do with all the ilegal immigrants in the cargo bins. Politics is affected in more ways by the churh than by war. Look at the past election for example. Everyone and their mother wanted to know how Obama could go to a church that had a man who was bad mouthing America as the minister. He was forced to make a statement to say what he believed and moved churches. No one cared about anything else for days besides what church he was going to. So church plays a huge role in politics and there will never be a comman ground. It is a culture war that will probablly last for years and years to come.

K-Iglinski said...

Alright Ryan. Your little clips are very entertaining I got alot of laughs. We can have an arguement about it tomorrow in class.

AAgostini said...

We certainly have not settled on a proper balance. Although the word “separation” should make it rather clear, as a society we still are sorting through shades of gray in relation to this issue. Some of the same principles of the “black robe fallacy” are applicable here. A large portion of the population is religious as well as a large portion of their representatives. For these representatives to abandon their religious biases simply because they take office is perhaps ideal but also highly unlikely. The specific type and degree of influence a politician’s religion has on his or her beliefs completely depends on the individual, and so this debate is certain to persist. There should be a clear and definite separation in which neither institution can interfere with the other for the sake of respecting and preserving the differences of individual beliefs, but because of our human tendency for bias, this equilibrium is rather difficult.

ayork said...

The separation of church and state will forever be a contemporary debate. Not only will christian and other religious leaders continue to lobby for various things in politics, politicians will continue to bend to their desires. They lack the ambition (cahones) to defie these people for fear of losing re-election. With regards to the article, I think I will side with Mr. Kennedy (and also Chaucer) this time. Refusing to give communion to someone because they won't bend to the church's every wish is kinda harsh. Especially from a society that is supposed to exemplify forgiveness and understanding. Returning to the question, I think that a proper balance can and will never be achieved because the two camps stand for different things. Even though the church is non-profit and non-taxable, they still are very apt to following the money and finding ways to acquire it. Thus they have a stake (and a lobby) in government. Actually, quite a large one that is hard to be ignored. This debate will go on as long as both government and the church exist.

MKlinka said...

The church, religion, rather, will always have an influence on political culture. Because of this, it's already balanced. Anything that happens gets filtered through the people, and what the current beliefs are so that doctrines are wholly supported by the largest amount of people.

Quite literally, the debate over what is and is not appropriate proves that we have achieved a proper balance of church and state, both sides are fighting adamantly, both sides are balanced. It doesn't matter what someone believes in individually, it doesn't matter what you, as a person feel is right, it doesn't matter how silly the doctrine might be, religion will always be there, acting as another system of factions.

The system will stay this way, moderated by religious factions simply because faith cannot be changed by simply saying "well I'm right".


Oh, and @ Ryan, normally I don't take the religious side, but, just for funsies, I'd be glad to call you out in a religious debate, we'll see who unconditionally wins.



Also, if you were debating someone who believed this for real, like that pastor, they don't lose because nothing changes, they have their faith, sure you can have them at a loss for words, but that is no loss.

At best, if you have two people that know their subjects equally well, you WILL ONLY reach a tie, it's the same here.

jreichart said...

Religion and politics will always have an effect on each other. Happily, our country gives us the freedom to decide our own religion. However, the issue of separating church and state will always be a debate. As it very well should. Our court system is designed to be able to handle the interpretations of the constitution, especially on issues such as this. In every single type of government, religion has an impact on how the government is run. We will always fight the battle of how to interpret the separation of church and state, and this decision will always be decided, as it should, by our court systems.

Ryan Paprocki said...
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Ryan Paprocki said...

Jake, I said in class that atheism was the lack of belief in all gods which is wrong (although it can be).

Klinka, if the theist side can't prove the existence of their God then they lose. I don't see how there is any room for a tie. Unless you do have evidence which by all means show it.

MKlinka said...

^ that's a flawed statement Ryan, there is no clear cut win or lose here, you cannot prove the lack of existence of that God, so you can't win either, thus a tie.

Moreover, in every case where I've beaten someone in a religious debate, be it for or against theism, there is no impact, nothing changes, no goal accomplished.

Then again, that's what theoretical debate is, so really all you have to do is discredit the oppositions arguments. However, in a good debate, where no arguments have credit, because they've all been tackled, a tie is the only possible result.

Basically, you can win, but it's impossible not to tie someone who knows his stuff, if you know yours.

I can show you why it's not so cut and dry. It will remain that way until concrete, unbeatable evidence is uncovered to change that.

MKlinka said...

Oh, also, if you want to take this to gov tomorrow, feel free. Maybe we can demonstrate that concept to the class.

PMiner said...

ah Klinka, you make me giggle haha. Although I completely agree with you, it just sounds so much better coming from you.

Separation of church and state is still an issue and it always will be. As long as the government exists(which it will) and the church exists(which it will) there will always be some complications. I don't think that the church stating that Congressman Kennedy should not receive communion is over reacting. Congressman Kennedy is openly for abortion, and this goes against the Catholic Church's set of morals and beliefs. If any person goes against the church, the church will suggest they don't take communion. It not just Congressman Kennedy because he is involved in politics. It could happen to your average Joe.

Ryan Paprocki said...

Looking back I shouldn't have wrote the last sentence "Unless you do have evidence which by all means show it" as it was random and misplaced since that obviously wouldn't cause a tie, I was flying out the door to go to school. Not sure if getting rid of that changes your response at all.

But in any case you might be right, I have some questions first though (I think it largely depends on all of the specifics of what side or statement the sides are trying to convey). I'll bring this up tommorow in class if I remember.

MKlinka said...

Well, we'll see what there is to see.

rlepak said...

The separation of church and state is still a current debate. I think, that as we have moved forward throughout history, the line between church and state becomes thinner and thinner, and the controversies around it become bigger and bigger. When the founding fathers were drafting the Constitution, many of them all have the same views on religion. And up until the 1960s prayer was said in school. Today, any mention of prayer in public school is crossing the line, and will most likely be taken to court by someone.

nsomers said...

I think that this article clearly demonstrates that we have not settled on a proper balance between church and state. In the article Bishop Tobin is saying that he holds kennedy to a higher standard because he is a congressman who can shape abortion laws and policies. This means that the church is still trying to influence our political policies and agendas. They want Kennedy to be in accordance with their laws so that his vote in congress reflects their laws.

j.polinski said...

The separation of church and state will always be a continuous debate. There will never be a midpoint or compromise because it is impossible for one to be reached, and I dont believe there can be a proper balance. This will be debated until time ends but whether anyone likes it or not, church will always be involved in everything to some extent. And even though I am heavily religious, I believe everyone has the right to sustain their own beliefs whether God exists and no one should impose any belief on one another and even though people want church to be separated from politics, it can and will never happen.

Brandon D said...

I believe the separation of church and state is and will always be a current debate. There will always be differences in the views on the issue. It plays a big role in many of the decisions that our government makes.

K-Laz said...

As long as the United States has no official religion (not saying it should) church and state will be an issue forever. The U.S. is known for it's freedom of religion therefore there are always going to be people who believe their religion is the right one. Whether its Jewdism or Christianity, neither belong in the government.

jmarczewski said...

Looking back at this question after learning of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, I am proud to say my previous analysis still upholds being correct: the issue is ongoing, and though some rulings have been made, they have been and most likely will be challenged in the future. Especially with the rise in diversity among American citizens pertaining to religion, rules that may have seemed formidable in the past now could be considered offensive, limiting, and unjust. This reminds me of how the NFL's overtime rule may have seemed fair to teams in the past who didn't wish to end a game in a tie, but now wishes to change their overtime rules to create a fair chance for both teams not decided by a coin flip. Even when rules are made and everyone at the time thinks they are final, somewhere down the line the issue will be challenged. Therefore, I uphold my opinion that religion is and will be an ongoing issue in politics.

Brandon D said...

laz has a good point as well. Our country has always had the ability to choose which religion one wants to believe in. This obviously will not change, making this a lasting issue.

Mitchell Kwapick said...

Even today, in 2013, separation of church and state is a current debate. Though it is one pushed under the radar and not blown up as much by the media, it is one that definitely exists. Throughout America one can see "In God we trust," "God Bless America," and the like. These phrases never say anything about allah or buddah. Though there is no official religion that America "is" there are many religions that America simply "isn't", and this is made public through the government. Also, the president is sworn in with a hand over the bible. If this is a separation of church and state then I don't know what a separation is.