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Lindsy Wayt

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Why is it important for religion to remain separate from politics?

I am a senior in high school, and am focusing my CITS Composition II paper and my senior symposium on the separation of church and state. I have read Kenneth D. Wald's Religion and Politics in the United States along with Isaac Kramnick's and R. Laurence Moore's The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness and a few works by Richard Dawkins. From my research, I am convinced that the destructive roles of religion used in the decisioin-making realms of government can be detrimental towards the evolution of humanity. Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion, and religious involvement often creates more problems than solves. Examples of these problems include, but are not limited to: political controversies of same-sex marriage, the availability of contraception for females through all types of medical insurance, the pro-life/pro-choice controversy, abortion-related violence, and last, but certainly not least- war. Patriotism and religion should not walk hand-in-hand.

However, I feel like I have such strong claims and views on this topic. I am in search of more support and opening this controversial topic for further discussion. I am all for expanding and sharing my viewpoint, and I hope this post recieves some thoughtful response. Thanks!

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    May 6 2012: First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your great amount of input!
    For those of you who posted the video links- I enjoyed watching them- The Hillsdale lecture and the comments on Bush led me to some further research.

    I guess, what I am more specifically looking for is some support to a few of the claims I plan to make as compromises to the whole controversy of "separation of church and state".

    Examples of these claims:
    • It is never appropriate to impose a religious test for public office. Article VI Const- “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States ”.
    • Voters should evaluate candidates based on policies, values, and their character- not how they choose to worship.
    • Religious leaders should refrain from using religious authority or threats to persuade the political decisions of citizens or candidates.
    • Religious leaders cross the line when they seek to coerce, not convince or counsel.
    • Democracies, and religious freedom, depend on voters being free to exercise civic duty without fear of punishment.
    • Democracy requires the ability to test public policies in reasoned discourse in a free marketplace of ideas.
    • Candidates should refrain from citing religion as exclusive authority for their positions.
    • Politicians should be inclusive of all citizens if they choose to speak on religion, and they should speak so that moral power and imagery can UNITE rather than divide.
    • Religious organizations have the freedom to speak out on great issues, but they should never endorse or oppose candidates based on religious beliefs alone.
    • Cloaking any candidate or political party in any religion is certain to disappoint. After all, candidates are human. Identifying them with any higher power compromises a society’s moral standards and disillusions.
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      May 9 2012: "Candidates should refrainfrom..." .
      "Politicians should..."
      I may have no problems aggreeing with some of these statements ,but the question then is WHO says these groups should or shouldn't ?
      Cloaking if a way of hiding behind is wrong (in my opinion) , but if someone has strongly held views then is is it right to deny himor her expression of those views. We then get into the debate of trying to judge a person's motives .
      If I tell you I live in a 12 bedroom house ( and I don't) ,you will get a view of me, and a perception that is wrong or right. However in politics and public life perception can by true or false, so the broadest possible view has to be taken for anyone to make a judgement.
    • Timo X

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      May 19 2012: @Lindsy

      I would like to compliment you on your subject choice and your writing style. I think you have a very interesting topic about and, more importantly, you seem to have thought about this very well and seem to be able to express these thoughts fluently in writing. As for raising more questions than you are answering, being able to raise curiosity and new questions in you readers is an essential writing skill. However, I would advise you to constrain yourself to one topic: it is not necessary to include all your views on everything that has to do with the subject of your article. You seem to want to make a lot of different but not overtly related points. A good article makes only one point, albeit usually a big and somewhat controversial one. This main point is generally made in the in the first paragraph and the rest of the article is spent doing three things:
      1) Building up a structure of argumentation that supports the point within an accepted framework (e.g. historical, mathematical, philosophical),
      2) Defending the main point from every possible conceivable angle of attack, and
      3) Discussing the implications of the main point.
      Although your claims make a lot of sense to me, not everyone may agree with our assessment and you might lose some readers if you don't spell everything out in an attractive and convincing manner. So what I'm trying to tell you really, is this: don't go about making claims, stick to one point and prove it.

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