The Instigator
michaelcaldwell.021
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Strangeways
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should God be allowed in politics?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 967 times Debate No: 29762
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

michaelcaldwell.021

Pro

"Separation of Church and State". The very statement makes my blood boil. Is it because this statement is wrong? Is it because this statement, though never mentioned in any of our founding documents, shouldn't be used in our government at a federal and state level? No. What we tend to not understand is that the Founding Fathers'--more specific, Thomas Jefferson's--idea of what we call "separation of church and state" is nowhere close to how our government, and sadly our schools, have come to interpret this idea.

This idea, which was held by our Founding Fathers, was the belief not that God and religion should be left out of politics, but quite the contrary. Their belief was that the government should have no interference in the church, or in the religious movement as a whole.

On the other hand, they believed wholeheartedly that God should be given first place in our government--the White House, Congress, and even down to the decisions the state governments were to make.

According to the United States Constitution, students have every right to pray in our schools. Teachers have every right to bring their Bibles with them and leave them on their desks. Cities, towns and villages have every right to place a nativity out in a public place. And last but not least, our senators, representatives, and yes even our president, has the responsibility to follow the U.S. Constitution and base every one of their decisions on that same document, which is the very document that gives us the right of religious freedom no matter what religion you are.
Strangeways

Con

Before we begin i'd like to say best of luck to my opponent! In this debate i'll begin by responding only to my opponent"s statements and by disputing his interpretation of the separation of church and state. When I feel I"ve done that I"ll stop and allow him to provide broader arguments as to why God should be allowed in politics.

My opponent"s argument seems to have one fundamental hypocrisy lurking within it: the assertion seems to be that government"s interference in religion is bad, but god"s interference in politics is somehow desirable. My argument is simple: they are, ultimately and historically speaking, one and the same thing. I"ll start by disputing the logic behind the founding father"s adherence to separation of church and state.

The aim of the Founding Fathers was not to prevent government"s interference in the church, it was to prevent the emergence of a tyranny of the majority in America, as had happened in the states of Europe. The risk was, simply put, that a religious majority sufficiently galvanised could be led into persecuting and removing the rights of minority religious groups. America, largely made up of formerly oppressed minority religious denominations, had reason to be wary of this occurring again in the new world. Government"s role in religion was to act as a safeguard against persecution from other beliefs and religions. The separation of church and state was to prevent the seizure of government as a religious absolutist body to be used against other sects. The government had a place in religion but as a neutral arbiter.

There was also the risk of the fledgling American state disintegrating if one religious groups" beliefs were enshrined in law above another"s as occurred in European States. This risked America becoming everything it had sought to avoid emulating in Europe; a series of religious, absolutist, constantly warring states. The founding fathers saw the clear necessity to enshrine a division between state and church to ensure that religious difference would not alienate Americans from one another. Far from making my opponent"s blood boil it should be considered impressive that the founders of the United States were able to sensibly mitigate this societal division with relatively little trouble. Put simply only a secular government can be trusted to satisfactorily safeguard the rights of ALL religions within a country.

God was certainly not given first place in the American state, far from it, instead the individual was placed at the centre of the state. The constitution is among the first political documents to enshrine in law the rights of the people rather than the rights of rulers and the church. Whilst references to the Protestant religion exist within this document, and may inspire the document, it at no point prescribes religion or any belief to the American public.

As I stated above this is just my response to my opponent"s statements on the separation of church and state. As he began the debate I"ll allow him to outline more broadly why God should be allowed in politics before providing more of my own arguments against.
Debate Round No. 1
michaelcaldwell.021

Pro

"God was certainly not given first place in the American state, far from it, instead the individual was placed at the centre of the state."

I would like to start out with a few quotes:
1. "Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia." (The Mayflower Compact, November 1620)
2. "The right to freedom being a gift from God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave... These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament." (Samuel Adams)
3. "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever." (Thomas Jefferson)
4. "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." (Patrick Henry)
5. "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under." (Ronald Reagan)

I understand that the all of our founding fathers were not Christians--some were atheists, others agnostic, and were even influenced by John Locke, who in turn was influenced by the Muslim belief system. Even so, the Christian faith, from the early 1600s to 2013, and its principles and morals have held our country together. And, just as Patrick Henry stated, "For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." It is true that "freedom of religion" not only included the Christian faith, but every religion and belief system. That is indeed one of the ideals that makes the United States great.

"About 3,000 Muslims gathered Friday for a first-ever prayer service in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol." (The Washington Times, Saturday, September 26, 2009) This is a prime example that religious freedom is alive and well...or is it? A minister in Washington, D.C., for thirteen years, would set up a tent as part of his ministry during the week of July 4th along with many other religions and cultural camps and displays in the national mall directly across from the capital building, until last year. He was told he was no longer allowed to set up in that spot, or anywhere on the national mall because his display was strictly Christian. As a patriotic American, I believe every culture and race should have religious freedom. The problem being that when the hammer comes down on religious freedom, the Christian Church is, in most cases, the one who is given more restraints.

Why is it that the God of the Christian Church, which the founding father's firmly believed could be trusted during the birth of our nation and in the establishment of its government, is no longer accepted in our schools or our courtrooms? I will end by again sharing what Patrick Henry said, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."
Strangeways

Con

Hi again,
The quotes posted, whilst interesting, do nothing to dispute the points I made earlier in my argument. Firstly, the Mayflower Compact should not be confused with the United States Constitution, it is not even an American document: you may notice that in it the European settlers swear allegiance to a King, well this King is James the first of Great Britain. Since the Revolutionary war these have had no bearing on the rights of the American"s. The quote, I am sorry to say, demonstrates absolutely nothing.

As for the other quotes, whilst most come from the founding fathers (not Ronald Reagan), they only express personal opinions and so therefore have no bearing on the rights of other Americans. If you recall, I stated that the founding fathers were certainly influenced by Christianity but the US Constitution at no point prescribes their religion to the people it governs. These quotes are also unhelpful to any argument you may have.

As far as I can see, my statement about the individual remaining at the centre of the American State still stands.

That"s all for the quotes. There is something else to address, you mention the "Christian Church" a couple of times and it is essential to point out that the "Christian Church" simply doesn"t exist. You seem to assume that Christianity is a term sufficient to describe the beliefs of Americans without further distinction. In reality there are huge historical differences between branches and denominations, most obviously between Protestants and Catholics who had been in a state of near constant war in Europe since the inception of the Anglican Church. A huge swathe of different beliefs existed on the North American Continent at the writing of the Constitution and should one of these have been favoured above another may have led to the disintegration of the fledgling United States.

As for Christianity receiving more restraints than other religions, well I see your point but I"m not so sure. I suspect that due to the sheer amount of "Christians" in America compared to other religious groups most religious controversies will be centred around them, giving the impression of greater restraint, when in fact it is just a matter of statistics.

The statement in which you imply that God has a place in the courtroom is a deeply sinister one. Can we draw from this that you believe that religious law should be rolled out across the United States? What about the Religious beliefs of others? The Bible is quite clear that the worship of other Gods is intolerable. On occasion it states that those diverging from worship of "the one true God" should be killed. That certainly isn"t a sound format for religious freedom. Or will the Christian Republic of America you seem to evoke allow other faiths to have their own courts. What happens when the religious laws of these different religious courts contravene each other? It is quite clear that this assertion is nonsensical and sounds very similar to Pakistan"s legal system which is, to say the least, undesirable.

But let"s move away from the United States, it is worth looking at European History for more evidence of the negative role of God in politics. We can name countless wars and crusades, inquisitions and purges which have occurred in the name of God. Later the very same faith helped aid the spread of Empires. A great deal of blood has been shed purely with the aim of defending, or promoting, a faith. God, when placed in politics, becomes little more than a tool to be used for advancement of a ruler"s own interests. Just look at the way Al-Quaida and the Taliban use religion to justify attacks on foreigners and other Muslims. Surely religion should be a matter for the individual, far removed from any position where his word may be deliberately and cynically misconstrued.
Debate Round No. 2
michaelcaldwell.021

Pro

michaelcaldwell.021 forfeited this round.
Strangeways

Con

Strangeways forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
michaelcaldwell.021

Pro

michaelcaldwell.021 forfeited this round.
Strangeways

Con

Strangeways forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
michaelcaldwell.021

Pro

michaelcaldwell.021 forfeited this round.
Strangeways

Con

Strangeways forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Strangeways 4 years ago
Strangeways
Obviously all "s are meant to be 's. Something happened when copying from word. :s
No votes have been placed for this debate.