The constitution of the United States of America creates a separation between religion and the government. In numerous areas across the country areas are dominated by one religion. As a result these areas people want laws that are based around religion. Separation of church and state forbids governments from passing such laws.
Thought the history of this nation problems over the separation have erupted. One that is relatively present is the phrase “Under God” that is in our Pledge of Allegiance. This phrase was added to pledge to separate the US from the communist world that has no religion. A few years ago a man sued his state for forcing his children to say the pledge. The man’s claims were he was Atheist and forcing his daughter to say the pledge was forcing her to call her father a liar. He also said due to the freedom of speech and religion in the United States he had a right to believe what he wanted. He argued that forcing someone to say “Under God” was violating an atheist or any non monotheistic religion’s right to think and believe what they want. The Courts agreed that forcing one to say the pledge was a violation of the first amendment. After the courts decided the justice department formed a law prohibiting schools from forcing kids to say the pledge.
Another arguable point is whether religion is a defense of a crime. In other words is god told me to do it, or I was protecting some one from god, an excuse for a crime. This is a concept that dates back thousands of years. During the eleventh century various crusades or holy wars were waged to reclaim religious holy land. The ancient Greeks and Romans belied in a god of war who was appeased by conquest and war. The Muslims believe in a holy struggle for god. This shows that many people have a concept of violence or struggle within their believes. This bears the question can these believes be a justification for a crime. A few people have tried this as a defense and haven’t succeeded but it still shows that people who have a strong feeling towards a religion.
Religion involved in legal cases comes up in a few other times regarding prosecution rather than defense. One famous case was that of the state of Tennessee vs. John Scopes. This case talked about the foundation of the United States and what values are most important. John Scopes was a high school science teacher who taught Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and not that god created man. During the nineteen twenties teaching such a theory in Tennessee was forbidden and outlawed. Scopes was arrested for the use of this theory. Even though he was convicted of the crime Scopes continued to oppose the law. Eventually the law was overturned and teaching of evolution was allowed. This case proved that while in the twenties most Americans, especially in the South, Christian values were still part of people’s everyday lives, there was a little progress to a true freedom of religion and a separation of church and state.