There is no God in Government

May 24, 2013
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There is no God in Government

In less than two hours, history was made and America was changed, forever. Ten years later and the pain from the 9/11 attacks are still prevalent. In the opening ceremony form the 9/11 twin towers memorial, President Barak Obama read Psalm 46 from the bible after a moment of silence. It began as “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…” This was an appropriate Psalm to read, I first thought but then I started thinking about the victims and families who weren’t Christian. Did this passage mean anything to them? Should it mean anything to them? After all it was talking just about the Christian god. This then lead me to think about how religion is prevalent in our national government. Religion is a personal belief that is unique to different regions, ethnicities and races of the world. The US government on the other hand is nothing personal and unique to an individual, one’s beliefs about the government may be, but the US government itself is an institution that makes decisions that are to, hopefully, benefit the country as a whole no matter what religion someone is.

The idea of separation of church and religion had been around since the pilgrims arrived. Though they did not have a great part in it, by the pilgrims leaving England to gain religious freedom started this idea. The idea of separation between church and state is credited to an English philosopher by the name of John Locke. He argued that government lacked the authority to control a person’s conscious and their belief so separation of church and state was the right option. America’s third president Thomas Jefferson agreed with Locke’s idea in a letter he wrote to Baptist from Danbury. He writes,
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & 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 & State”
Jefferson realizes that first of all if he and everyone else who came to America came partly for religious freedom it would be hypocritical to put religion and government together. He also sees that there are many different religions in the newly free America, and having religion and government be together would anger many people and that would not be healthy for such a young nation to endure. Now in the twenty first century, the same reasoning still applies.

By reading a passage from a religious text at the 9/11 memorial unveiling, Obama favored Christianity over all other religions. Some may say that it is ok since it is a time of grief, and the majority of Americans are Christians, but what message does that send to other religious groups and children, like Muslims. Their religious group was under attack from society and the government after the 9/11 attacks. People who were innocent were judged on their religion and their religion got a bad connotation. In the 2008 elections, candidates were calling Obama a Muslim to try and scare people by implying that he is a terrorist which he clearly isn’t. The candidates who used this tactic were linking government and religion in a negative way.

It isn’t wrong for someone to express their religious beliefs, but if it is done within the government, than every religion should be accounted for to not show favoritism. By the continual linking of Church and state, children will get the idea that Christianity is better than other religions because it is in a way endorsed by high powered political figures. This can cause religious discrimination occur subconsciously within children and the people of the United States for that matter. Separation of government and religion even in devastating times is necessary to stay true to the foundation of America and to hinder religious discrimination.

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