SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Leroy Varga’s letter of Sept. 11 (”Separation of church and state crumbling”) was true enough, as far as he went. The separation of church and state is being eroded by the creeping Christian moves into our government. In Turkey’s secular state, it’s the Muslim not-so-creeping moves eroding their government.
However, religious influence is not the original reason for the separation of church and state, or for creating a secular United States. Going back into England’s history you’ll find that separation began to gain weight because government in England interfered with religion. King Henry (government) disagreed with the Catholic Church (religion) divorce rules, so he had England become Anglican (a different religion). King James (government) a Catholic who seemed to enjoy eliminating Protestants (religion), talked to some friendly monks (religion) and had them rewrite the Bible (religion), showing that the King (government) was not subject to English Common Law (government) but answered, on an equal basis, only to God (religion).
So the King (government) used the Bible (religion) to encourage the populace to be more subservient to the King (government) for religious reasons. Government corrupted religion.
Today the concern is that religion corrupts our government. Consider the examples: “In God We Trust,” “One Nation, Under God”, government sponsoring and attending prayer breakfasts, people like Rev. Billy Graham a fixture in the White House, the Lord’s Prayer recited before any government function, a Christian prayer/song “America” replacing the national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner,” a congressional Chaplin, and now a delusional Supreme Court backing a religiously prejudiced corporation just as a late 19th century Supreme Court declared the United States a Christian nation.
How long before the government, sworn to uphold the United States Constitution, names a national religion? And then legitimizes the suppression of every other religion, or non-religion? Fortunately, we have a government that doesn’t work, so for the moment, we’re safe.
In the 4th century, a Roman Emperor declared all religions were legitimate, including the “new” Christianity. A couple hundred years or so later, another Emperor declared that the Christianity from Rome was the only true religion, thereby making what today is Roman Catholic their national religion. Those emperors were interfering with religion’s business.
Pretty soon, religions were trying to subdue each other. Did not the Puritans, shortly after arriving here, begin to execute each other on religious, or delusional, reasons? So the local Puritans (religion) began to exercise judicial (government) powers, executing their own brothers and sister. Mostly, I think, their sisters. Do not the factions of Islam murder each other?
So what happens when the United States government declares a national religion? Easy answer: the government owns the religion, suppressing all others. The other religions, or non-religions, become an enemy. Welcome to the situation in the Mideast. Their present will be our future.