Religion has no place in the United States' government
Debate Rounds (4)
My counterpart has made a false equivalency between morality and religiosity. To say that religion is the only thing stopping people from killing each other is absurd. In fact, countries that are more religious in general have more problems with morality than those who are non religious, as can be seen in the following graph relating religiousity to social and moral development:
Now, I should reiterate the fact that Round 1 was NOT a debate round, so try to dismiss the above arguments regarding that topic. I simply felt as though I should address them.
Now, as for my argument why religion should have NO place in the United States' government, I offer the following contentions:
Contention 1: Religion can not be used as evidence in a political debate.
This should seem obvious. Religion in and of itself is not a factual idea, it revolves around faith. To use religion as evidence or as an excuse to justify various political stances is a logical fallacy and should not be tolerated in a professional government. Unfortunately, many of our own senators today are still highly religious and do not secularize these beliefs. For example, James Inhofe, a Republican out of Oklahoma controversially stated in regards to climate change that "God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." Not only did Inofe in this circumstance fail to provide any evidence to the contrary that climate change exists, but he flat out denied proven, peer-reviewed science with the logical fallacy that, and I paraphrase, "God wouldn't let that happen." It should be obvious after hearing this that religion and politics simply do not mix.
Contention 2: Using religion to pass federal laws is unconstitutional.
One of the biggest flaws of judgement, primarily on the side of the Republicans, is that they believe the country was founded on Christianity and thus Christianity should be present and seen in the laws we pass regarding social and moral conflicts. One of these conflicts would be, for example, gay marriage. Why then, is this unconstitutional? Well, not only has the seperation of Church and State been established for many years through the writings of one of our most memorable founders, Thomas Jefferson, but additionally the Establishment Clause, which states that the federal government shall not make any laws "respecting an establishment of religion," prevents the government from creating any laws to defend or establish a religion. In the circumstance of gay marriage, simply using the argument that "the Bible says it's not ok" flies in the face of these federal writings and is thus unconstitutional. Quite unfortunately, many non-secular religious senators still believe in the former.
Contention 3: Religion present in our national government is hypocritical.
America has always been a country that values above all else freedom from religious persecution and personal choice. If this is to be true, religion can not have a place in our federal government. Passing various bills and laws with religion in mind violates these principles, as these bills would infringe upon the religious freedoms and ideals of every citizen in America who does not agree with them.
Now, am I arguing that every senator and house representative should be an atheist? Of course not. In fact, over 90% of our congress identifies as Christian or a denomination of it. (Source: Pew Research Center) What I am arguing however, which is an idea that Democrats understand and agree with, is that a government that truly represents the people and respects all different belief systems MUST be secular. Otherwise, the government would not be acting in respect to the people but instead would be acting in respect to the religious beliefs of its congressmen and women, and not only would this be unconstitutional, but it would violate the principles that America was founded upon.
pro says using religion to pass laws is unconstitutional. there is no other way for people to make laws, however. they can use their own sense of morality, but then they would be going against their religion if there were conflicting ideas. again, people use religion to inform their morality, there's just no way around it like prowould like you to belive. for example, when the nation began, there were laws against sodomy in all the states. if this is true, the founders must not have thought reigion as a basis for law should exist. to be sure, sodomy now is unconstitutional, but that's only because a later amendment passed, and social mores changed. the fact remains, at the beginning and as a basic matter, religion can constitutionally inform morality. on the establishment point, the amendment says there shall be no establishment of religion. that means ohio can't decide to be a mormon state. it doesn't say anything about using religion to inform morality. or "defending" religion insofar as this is true.
where do you draw a line? gay marriage, sodomy, killing other people, slavery at least at the founding of the country. there are non-religion basis for all this, people dont just rely on religion, some dont at all. dont their beliefs matter? con seems to go for the laws that are the least common denominator, that majority believes, with anythig else infringing on rights.
people form their beliefs by their religion. this includes things like killing others being wrong. if it weren't for their religion, they wouldn't think that way. now, that's not to say that there is something to be said about respecting people's freedom, and not forcing them to do your own view of things. of course, there is a tension here, cause you force people not to kill. everyone draws the lines differently about what is acceptable law and what isn't, what is acceptable impostion and what is not. but to say religion has no place is misguided, it is better to say respect for others freedom should be a priority.
Again, con has used the false equivalancy between religion and morality to enforce his belief that religion should be present in our national government. There is no direct proof that those who are religious have better social and moral development, in fact, as can be seen in the graph in Round 2, it tends to be the opposite.
Con argues that there is no way to make laws other than using religion to guide your thought process. This in and of itself seems like an illogical argument. As I've said previously, over 90% of our congress identifies as Christian or a denomination of it, and yet, the country has just legalized gay marriage. The reason for this is that those who truly understand congress and understand what our country was founded upon realize that for a country to truly be free and respectful of all different religions and ideologies, the government of this country must be secular. Religion does not correlate to morality in any way.
Con also groups "gay marriage, sodomy, killing other people" and "slavery" together as things that are "non-religious." The only thing one could ascertain from this is that con believes that gay marriage should be illegal. Despite this, con argues that I agree with laws that are of the minority and infringe on other people's rights. Really? How is my belief in the legalization of gay marriage and equality under the law for all people infringing on anyone's rights? Religious people do not have the right to infringe.
The most hypocritical thing about con's argument was his/her statement that "respect for others freedom should be a priority." How is this possible if religion controls our government? If religion controls the government and the laws it passes, which I should add is unconstitutional due to things such as seperation of church and state and the establishment clause, then this infringes on the freedom of everyone who doesn't agree with those religious laws. If a government passes a law with Christian ideals in mind, it thus infringes on the rights of every athiest, muslim, jew, mormon, etc. in America. This is not what America was founded upon and is a hypocritical perversion of the principles of American freedom.
it's possible because even religous people can recognize the right to let others be. you might be against drunkenness, but allow others the right to be drunk, for example.
"How is my belief in the legalization of gay marriage and equality under the law for all people infringing on anyone's rights?"
the first amendment gives people the right to religion. that means the right to enforce their morals. there is something very moral about letting localities decide their own affairs, even if you disagree with it. otherwise you are infringing on people's rights.
con misses the point that it might be religion that tells someone to be against sodomy, but it is also their perception of natural law and what is good for people. religion and morality are intertwined and cannot be separated like pro is trying to do.
fortunately, social minds have changed such that most dont want to ban sodomy, rather they respect the freedom of other people.
religion and morality are intertwined and cannot be separated like pro is trying to do.
"it's possible because even religous people can recognize the right to let others be. you might be against drunkenness, but allow others the right to be drunk, for example."
The problem with this statement is that it is simply not true. Religious people for the most part do not let others be. Simply take gay marriage for example. Those on the far right religious branch of politics will do anything they can to preserve their perfect ideals of marriage and stop gays from enjoying their right to equality under the law. As I've said previously, religious people do not have the right to infringe on the rights of others.
"the first amendment gives people the right to religion. that means the right to enforce their morals. there is something very moral about letting localities decide their own affairs, even if you disagree with it. otherwise you are infringing on people's rights."
Again, you've completely confused the issue. The first amendment establishes the free exercise of religion as you speak of, but it is specifically AGAINST the establishment of religion in politics (The Establishment Clause). This clause specifically states that the government "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." To pass laws in favor of certain religions is not freedom, it is theocracy. And such laws would infringe upon all people who do not agree with those religious principles.
" con misses the point that it might be religion that tells someone to be against sodomy, but it is also their perception of natural law and what is good for people. religion and morality are intertwined and cannot be separated like pro is trying to do."
This is one of the oldest arguments in the book against gay marriage, or as you call it, sodomy. Homosexuality IS natural. It occurs in nature and scientists have been observing it for decades. "As of 1999, about 500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, have been documented engaging in same-sex behaviors" (Bagemihl, Bruce (1999). Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. St. Martin's Press). This is besides the point however, as you still seem to believe that you cannot have morality without religion. This is a false equivalancy. Again, as I've said before, research has shown that there is NO correlation between religiousity and moral and social development. The graph I provided back in Round 2 reinforces this statement.
I'd like to thank my opponent for the debate and will give them the closing words.
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