On O’Donnell and the separation of church and state

I admit this is a scary thought, but did the founding fathers leave the door open to the church influencing American government while discouraging the support of a church with tax dollars? According to the Constitution, “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Establishment of religion, according to some historians, refers to the support of a church with tax dollars.

The language, however, does not discourage guidance of policy via religion, nor does the language specify any religion. Question becomes should religion be used as a guide for policymaking at all. I would say no. Using religion, at least overtly, to guide policy creates a slippery slope where we find ourselves distracted by arguments over religion itself versus determining optimal solutions for problems regarding commerce, the common defense, and our general welfare.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
This entry was posted in freedom of religion, Political Economy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to On O’Donnell and the separation of church and state

  1. Doug Indeap says:

    Separation of church and state does not prevent citizens from making decisions and voicing opinions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. In this context, the principle of separation of church and state merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

    Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

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