Understanding Separation of Church & State

It never ceases to amaze me how short-sighted Americans are when talking about religious freedom.  A county in Florida is revisiting a policy of allowing bibles to be distributed at schools after a group exerted its religious rights by wanting to distribute coloring books featuring cartoon characters performing satanic rituals and drawing pentagrams.

Separation of Church and State protects your religious freedoms, people.

051601AshcroftPrayerMtgs

From the archives

Time for an atheist justice on the Supreme Court

JusticeAngelsI’ve mentioned this here before that I’m a firm believer in the Separation of Church and State.  Not because of my religious beliefs or non-beliefs but because I think Separation of Church and State is the best way to ensure that all Americans have the freedom to worship (or not) without intimidation or threats.

I think the Court is missing the point about allowing prayer in government institutions when using the “coercion” argument.  The issue isn’t whether or not the actual prayer praises or denigrates a particular faith- it’s whether there should be any prayers at all before a public town council meeting.  How about a moment of silence?  One could recite the Lord’s Prayer, offer praise to Allah, or just mentally go over your grocery list.  I myself would welcome a moment of silence before having to listen to politicians start blabbering.

Town of Greece v Galloway

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments over the question of public prayers at town board meetings in Greece, NY.  Chris Christie and other election results dominated the news but it will be interesting to see how the Court ultimately rules.  Here’s a few photographs from outside the court:

photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4

Historic week for gay marriage and equal rights

Crowds line up for gay marriage cases. Photo by David Lloyd

Crowds line up for gay marriage cases. Photo by David Lloyd

Today the Supreme Court of the United States will hear the first of two cases for same-sex marriage.  Opponents will argue that legalizing these unions will destroy the traditional definition of marriage since marriage is about “responsible procreation and child-rearing” (tell that to couples who choose not to have children or the elderly couple who have found happiness again).  This is a simple question of equal rights. Why shouldn’t gays, who pay taxes and participate in society just like anyone else, be able to marry?  Churches will still be able to decide which couples can be married within the church; this will not impact them.  It will be interesting to see which Justices support the Separation of Church and State and which ones are still living in the pre-Loving v. Virginia era.