The Forbidden: Religion and Politics


Lena Buehrle, Journalist

The islamic center with a ‘One Cape. One Nation.” sign (Lena )
Woman voting and the St. Andrews Lutheran Church, another place to vote (Lena)
The pledge of Allegiance, emphasizing UNDER GOD (Lena)

Untitled design

The islamic centre, a woman turning in her ballot, and a “Vote Here” sign (Lena)

On September 17, 1787, our founding fathers signed a document stating how they would run the country, the United States of America. Although most were Christian, they created a way for there to be religious freedom. That solution was advocating for the Separation of Church and State. 

Having the Separation of Church and State means that the religious beliefs of our leaders cannot dictate the laws that they put in place. For example, Paganism believes in leaving offerings for their gods. If paganistic leaders were elected to public office, the separation would prevent them from creating a law requiring people to leave offerings. However, the separation does not prevent voters from voting within their morals, religious or not. 

The idea of separation between church and state was an idea started by Voltaire during the 18th Century. He was a philosopher and writer in the French Enlightenment, who also thought of the idea of freedom of religion and expression, which our country also adopted. The United States of America used this method to create full religious freedom for all of the citizens of America. This way no president or a higher authority can tell another person what to believe. According to Time Magazine, “The concept of a ‘separation of church and state’ reinforces the legal right of a free people to freely live their faith, even in public; without fear of government coercion. Free exercise means you may have a faith and you may live it (Lankford).”

The United States of America has been doing it’s best to fully pull apart religion and politics. Although 70.6% of our country is Christian, many religions are practiced in the U.S. We all have different opinions in our government, but creating laws for and against certain religions will eliminate the rights given to us by the first amendment. The National Archives has written an article over the constitution, and the portion about the first amendment states, “The First Amendment provides several rights protections: to express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems. It also protects the right to religious beliefs and practices. It prevents the government from creating or favoring a religion (The Bill of…).” If our leaders had violated this amendment or ignored the concept of separation of church and state, then we may have ended up with a repeating of the reason that brought Westerns to the America’s. Our citizens might have had fled in order to have religious freedom as some of the first Englishmen did in the 1600’s from King Henry VIII. 

The students at Cape Central Senior High School took a poll over the week of October 12th. The results of the survey helped us gather information on how much people know about this separation and whether or not they believed if it is or should be continued. Forty-six percent of students felt that the church is influencing the laws and practices of our country too much, while 19.5% of the poll takers said that there was no influence. However, when the survey asked about if the Separation of Church and State should be maintained, 75.6% agreed that it should. Many of them believe that it truly does help in living out the First Amendment.

The separation creates a definitive barrier between religious beliefs and political laws. It protects religious freedom in the USA and helps every religion flourish without influence. It is important to all citizens of America to vote, not for a god’s law, but for what they believe will help every American Citizen heal and protect our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.