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Should Separation of Church and State be more Heavily Enforced? (US)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 681 times Debate No: 79442
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
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This debate will include three rounds, which will be organized as the following:
Round 1: Both sides will present their argument.
Round 2: Both will respond to the others argument.
Round 3: Present second argument.
Round 4: Response to the opposing argument.
Round 5: Both will leave concluding statements.
Beginning Argument:

I believe that freedom in America is being slowly pulled back from the lack of attention to the separation of church and state. I have personally seen religion being inserted into places it does not belong, and used as arguments to oppose certain movements. Religion is beginning to see a decline, so I assume that this will pass eventually. Even so, it is clear that there are some with no concern for the rights of others, including other religious people, with trying to intrude on public buildings and government.

First of all, there is the issue of having god in the money and the pledge. "In God We Trust" was added when "legislation passed in May 1908 made "In God We Trust" mandatory on all coins on which it had previously appeared." (1)
An argument from tradition would not work here, especially since it was added much later. Not only that, but it was added to paper money in the years 1957 to 1966.
In the year of 1954 the phrase "under God" was added to the pledge. (2)

You may ask, "why is it so important to remove it? It's not that big of a deal..." It is very simple, it is in violation of the first amendment. I don't know if most remember this, but those amendments were to preserve the rights of everyone, not just a select group of people. If someone was parking in an illegal spot, they would be arrested. If someone was trespassing, even if they weren't hurting anyone, they would be arrested. Why is it that God gets a free pass for violating people's rights? To add to this, there are some who get so riled up for not being okay with god in the pledge. In my personal life i've been forced to say the pledge (even though it isn't required) and i've seen videos of people being kicked out of rooms for refusing to stand during the pledge.
This may not be as dire as situations like police brutality and sexism, but it is still an issue that must be dealt with.
Thank you for participating.



Thank's to Pro for this debate.

A Brief History of the phrase “Separation of Church and State”

The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. — Everson v. Board of Education, 1947

This was the first time that the court announced that the First Amendment mandated a Separation of Church and State.

The Court even observed years later that it had taken an unprecedented legal action, Making the 14th Amendment applicable to the 1st Amendment and using it against the states:

Involved the imposition of new and farreaching constitutional restraints on the states... reversing the historic position that the foundations of those liberties rested largely in state law… - Waltz v. Tax Commission [1]

The same Court further conceded that this “Separation of Church and State” was very recently introduced to the legal system:
“The Establishment Clause was not incorporated in the Fourteenth Amendment until Everson v. Board of Education was decided in 1947… The meaning of the Establishment Clause (has been) made applicable to the states for only a few decades at best.” — Waltz v. Tax Commission [1]

Where did the court get this phrase from?

In 1801, The Baptists of Danbury were concerned about a rumor that a national denomination would be established. On January 1, 1802; Thomas Jefferson responded to them with the following phrase:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.[1]

Why did Jefferson phrase his letter the way he did?

It is important to remember that he was addressing Baptists, a denomination to which he did no belong. In writing to them, he aimed to create a common ground between himself and his audience. Jefferson actually borrowed the phrase “wall of separation” from one of the more prominent Baptist ministers, Roger Williams. Roger Williams once said:

When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World”[1]

According to Williams, the wall was erected to protect the “garden of the church” from the "wilderness if the world."

When Studying history, it becomes clear that the Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education, 1947 was not only unprecedented, which I will go into further detail about later, but it also distorted the meaning of Jefferson’s letter.

America’s Founding

Samuel Adams, “The Father of the American Revolution,” wrote The Rights of the Colonists, which circulated in 1772. He wrote: These (rights) 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 theNew Testament.[1]

What about education?
Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity... and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.”[1]

He also said, Our cause is just;’ and it was… a Christian duty to defend it.[1]

As you can see Adams never separated the struggle for freedom from the Biblical precepts.

What the Declaration of Independence, our Nation’s Charter says:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them[7]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness[7]
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…[7]
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.[7]

If the Founding Father’s would allow the above phrases to appear in our Nation’s Founding Document, then the obvious conclusion is that they did not believe in a Separation of Church and State.

Quotes from other Founding Fathers on religion:
John Jay
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.[1]

James Madison
Before any men can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour [sic] of the Universe…. Religion…[is] the bases and foundation of Government.” [1]

We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments.[1]

Alexander Hamilton

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity. Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness—these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.[1]

John Adams

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.[1]

Statesman, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue[1]

religion and virtue are the only foundations, not only of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all governments and in all the combinations of human society. [1]

America thereafter.
Updegraph v The Commonwealth, 1824

Abner Updegraph . . . on the 12th day of December 1821 . . .not having the fear of God before his eyes . . . contriving and intending to scandalize, and bring into disrepute, and vilify the Christian religion and the scriptures of truth, in the Presence and hearing of several persons ... did unlawfully, wickedly and premeditatively, despitefully and blasphemously say . . . : "That the Holy Scriptures were a mere fable: that they were a contradiction, and that although they contained a number of good things, yet they contained a great many lies." To the great dishonor of Almighty God, to the great scandal of the profession of the Christian religion.

Mason v Ramsey
On legislation that is in accordance with Biblical teachings:

For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth . . . [1]

United States v. Macintosh

We are a Christian People… according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God[1]

All sources in comments. I originally had more to my argument, but it was 6,000 too long. It will also be in comments if you wish to see the rest of it, in the form of a google doc.

Back to you, Pro.

Debate Round No. 1


1. You show a lot of evidence that some founding fathers believed that there wasn"t even a difference, and that it wasn"t given much attention, but having that separation is protecting the public"s fundamental rights. However, they all weren"t like that.
"The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." "John Adams, Founding Father
"No religious reading, instruction or exercise, shall be prescribed or practiced [in the elementary schools] inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination." "Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father
"I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another." "Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are shown here to be openly against the idea of one religion being established over others. Also, many of our founding fathers were NOT Christian either. In fact, most of them were Protestants. It"s obvious that if you weren"t part of that group you wouldn"t want that group to rule.
(I"m sorry for using Wikipedia D: )
"49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons). Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.
A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson,[19][20][21] who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin. Others, notably Thomas Paine, who challenged institutionalized religion in The Age of Reason, were deists, or held beliefs very similar to those of deists." (
As you can see, they shared different belief systems and it would make no logical sense for them to want one religion to have power over others. Also while researching this, many of the most prominent founding fathers were very accepting of every form of belief or lack thereof.
Not being in favor of the Separation of Church and State would contradict this, especially considering that not wanting it would be disrespectful towards others.

2. Well, that was certainly a thorough history lesson to say the least. The problem is, it doesn"t show any definite proof that we should not enforce it. There are a lot of things that were established at the time of our founding fathers that we are against today, such as slavery. It was considered a norm back then, so they didn"t think much of it.
Similarly to minorities, other religions and Atheists were the minority that wasn"t thought much of at the time. Women were a minority too. There were countless laws made that had disadvantages these groups, and not enforcing the separation of Church and State would do the same.
Simply because our founding father wrote it in doesn"t mean we have to stand by it forever. They allowed the laws to be flexible specifically because they knew that times would change, and so the laws would have to change with them. These days" people have a voice that is heard, so we can finally stand up against the injustices done to minorities.
In this day and age, it is especially important to be inclusive with other groups since we are supposed to all have the right to life, liberty and property. We can"t live in the past, we need to work for today. These days" people are more accepting and value the liberty of others.

3. If religion and government were meant to mix, then we would probably be living in a theocracy and not a democracy. Even in the establishment of Jamestown, the people came here so that they could practice their beliefs freely without punishment. Not enforcing these rights would only lead to disastrous results.
For example, would you want religion to be taught or enforced in schools? Most would say no. Children shouldn"t be indoctrinated at schools, especially since they are very impressionable. Parents would be outraged if they found out a teacher was trying to preach to students and converting them to a different religion. Allowing religion in school would allow teachers to do this, which is unfair to the parents to say the least.
Even if you just wanted to teach religion as an informational subject and not as truth, it would still lead to other complications. Just teaching one religion would be biased, but there are hundreds if not thousands of religions that people belong to. That would be too much information to teach to a child.
Also, there are some parents who wouldn"t want to teach their children any religion until they"re old enough to understand and comprehend it (like I would be if I had children.) Children are easily impressionable so they would just believe the first thing they hear. Some parents would want their children to logically figure things out for themselves instead of picking a religion "just because."
Teaching, among almost all jobs, are secular jobs. They CANNOT have their personal beliefs conflict with the job otherwise they would not be able to properly do their duties. Kim Davis, for example, is a woman who violated her duty as a clerk who has to hand out marriage licenses. She refused to give gay couples their marriage licenses, even though it is in her job description. She was jailed for this, and rightfully so. It doesn"t matter what side you"re on with the gay marriage debate, she violated her duty as a clerk and has to receive punishment for not doing her job.
If there is something in your job that goes against your religious beliefs, you shouldn"t use it as an excuse for not doing your job.
Should a faith healer be allowed to become a doctor, then refuse to use legitimate medical practices because it goes against their beliefs?
Should a Muslim be able to work at a supermarket, then refuse to touch the pork and alcohol?
It doesn"t matter who you are and what you do, you have a duty to do your job and everything involved with it. If you don"t want to violate your beliefs, then go for a different job. You can"t say "I can do this job" then not complete it. Everyone has their job, so you need to do yours.

I"ll cut this off before it gets too long. Thank you for reading, and I hope I get good responses. :D



"I have personally seen religion being inserted into places it does not belong"

I believe the opposite is taking place, that it is being taken out of society/government. Some examples are:

A student praying aloud over his lunch is unconstitutional - Reed v van Hoven, 1965

Let's look at this case: Now, it was completely voluntary, students were not required to listen, the government was not "Respecting the establishment of a religion", which means that students were not excessively entangled, thus not in violation of the Establishment Clause. But notice it does not allow students to pray over a meal, a tradition in the Christian Faith, which "prohibits the free exrecise thereof."

It's unconstitutional for students to voluntarily arrive at school to hear a student voluntarily read prayers before school starts. Prayers which have been offered by chaplains in the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate, mind you - State Board of Ed. v Board of Ed. of Netcong, 1970

The school adopted this resolution:
On each school day before class instruction begins, a period of not more than five minutes shall be available to those teachers and students who may wish to participate voluntarily in the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. This freedom of religion shall not be expressed in any way which will interfere with another's rights. Participation may be total or partial, regular or occasional, or not at all. Non-participation shall not be considered evidence of non-religion, nor shall participation be considered evidence of or recognizing an establishment of religion. The purpose of this motion is not to favor one religion over another nor to favor religion over non-religion but rather to promote love of neighbor, brotherhood, respect for the dignity of the individual, moral consciousness and civic responsibility, to contribute to the general welfare of the community and to preserve the values that constitute our American heritage. [1] (emphasis added)

Yet it supposedly violates the Establishment Clause, although the resolution states that the intent of the resolution is not to favor one religion over another not to favor religion over non-religion

"First of all... 1957 to 1966."

Let's now look at the reason that this legislation was passed. The first source that you cite gives us a brief (and yes it's brief this time) history of it:

'From Treasury Department records it appears that the first suggestion that God be recognized on U.S. coinage can be traced to a letter addressed to the Secretary of Treasury from a minister in 1861. An Act of Congress, approved on April 11, 1864,authorized the coinage of two-cent coins upon which the motto first appeared.

The motto was omitted from the new gold coins issued in 1907, causing a storm of public criticism. As a result, legislation passed in May 1908 made "In God We Trust" mandatory on all coins on which it had previously appeared.'[2]

The precedent stems from the increased religious sentiment during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P. Chase, received quite a few appeals from citizens urging the United States recognize the Christian God on U.S. Coins. The first of which seems to date from 1861. On April 22, 1864, Congress passed the Act, putting the phrase "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the two-cent coin. In 1865, another Act passed, puting that phrase on certain gold and silver coins. When the motto disappeared, there was a lot of public dissaproval, so Congress passed a law that reflected the common sentiment of the American people, and made it law for that phrase to appear on our currency. [3]

"Under God" in Pledge of Allegiance

"The words of the Pledge echo the conviction held by the Founders of this Nation that our freedoms come from God. Congress inserted the phrase 'One Nation Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance for the express purpose of reaffirming America's unique understanding of this truth..." [4] Drawing again from the Declaration of Independence, it states,"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

They believed that we had certain unalienable rights endowed by by our Creator. "under God" signifies this idea of these unalienable rights and reminds us how paramount our rights are. The government cannot take your rights because they are endowed by a Creator, a God.

I generally don’t agree with what Obama says. But there are a few occasions that I think that he is right. The following quote is one of those few times:

A sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God.' I didn’t. - Barack Obama[5]

My Defense

Treaty of Tripoli

According to Professor of History at Perdue University, Frank Lamber, this quote was “intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced.”

This is actually a reasonable conclusion. Allow me to explain.This negotiated during the Barbary Powers Conflict. These powers were warring against what they considered to be “Christian Nations.” The Barbary Powers constantly attacked undefended American merchant ships, and enslaved “Christian”seamen inretaliation for the Crusades and Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of the Moors from Granada. The Treaty of Tripoli was one treaty in which both nations recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent a "Holy War" between Christians and Muslims. Consequently, it reads:

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." [6]

Jefferson's Quotes

Notice How it says "Religious Sect. or Denomination," Meaning a subgroup of a Religion, not different religions. It is important to note that those that made the voyage to America to escape religious perscution, came because they did not agree with the Church of England not Christianity itself. Now what religion could Jefferson be speaking of? Using all the information I gave in Round 1, we could assume that he is speaking of Christianity.

Protestants and Catholics are both Christians.

Well, that was certainly a thorough history lesson to say the least.
Why, Thank you.

"it is especially important to be inclusive with other groups since we are supposed to all have the right to life, liberty and property"
Not seeing the connection between life, liberty, property and religion. Well, Maybe for liberty.

"Even in the establishment of Jamestown, the people came here so that they could practice their beliefs freely without punishment."
Well, it's charter says otherwise:

We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government: DO, by these our Letters Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires [7]

Not enough characters to keep arguing.

I look foreward to a great response!

Debate Round No. 2


Argument #1: Response to "under God."
"They believed that we had certain unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. "Under God" signifies this idea of these unalienable rights and reminds us how paramount our rights are. The government cannot take your rights because they are endowed by a Creator, a God."
Yeah, except everything you say here is something I don"t believe in the slightest, you know, because there are people in this world that don"t believe in God (like me.) Why do you think religion has a right to insert itself into the pledge? The pledge was made by the government, which makes it impossible to say that it is constitutional to have the word god in the pledge. So legally, it shouldn"t be allowed. Not only that, but it is something being said on the intercom of schools every morning.
Also, of course Barack Obama didn"t have a problem with the pledge, he"s a Protestant. To a person who is religious, having God in the pledge and money means nothing because it is something you personally believe. Why should it matter if you see something you believe in the world? That would hardly be noticeable to you. It matters to people like me because I am part of a group that realizes that religion is all over government and wants the Separation of Church and state to be enforced like it should.
It isn"t even that society will fall if we have god in the pledge, it is just a violation of basic rights. Would you mind if we added "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation without God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" to the pledge? I can guarantee that most religious people would be upset with that. You are literally pledging against your own personal beliefs on a day-to-day basis. God has nothing to do with our rights and it is really ironic that you talk about god giving liberty when it is actually taking it away.

Argument #2: Atheists are being discriminated against by religious people. It"s a violation of the Separation of Church and State, and allows bigotry to reign.
There are states where Atheists can"t even run for office, those which are Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Why else would this happen except for religious people overstepping their boundaries?
Also they are discriminated against when it comes to child custody too (2). I think that basing how capable a person is to do something based on their belief (or lack of) is overstepping their boundaries and should be considered unconstitutional. It is also obvious that these biases are only based on a person"s belief and stereotype of atheists because those were the only factors to go into this.
Also you can"t be a boy scout. I know this doesn"t sound like much to you, but this is literally allowing bigotry to other groups, and that is f*cked up. Imagine if they did that to Muslims, or even black people? Sometimes in individual cases people have not been allowed to do things such as start school clubs, create organizations and anything else they can get away with. Also some people don"t even trust them, even though all they"ve done is not believe religion (3). They assume that it would be an Atheist to do something wrong, even though statistically there are more religious people who commit crimes and go to jail (and religious people make up most of the population as well.) (I didn"t really understand why they didn"t say the rapist either, they have proven to be untrustworthy because they do terrible things to others without remorse.)
It is clear that these feelings people have towards non-belief will affect the law, and have plenty of times before.

Argument #3: Refuting the refutation
(In response to "Protestants and Catholics are both Christians.") Yeah, but guess what else? They have consistently conflicting beliefs. There is no way they would agree on having Christianity as the country"s religion since there are so many things they would consistently argue about.
Why is the founding fathers religion an argument either? They have no idea what is best for our country because it"s been two-hundred years and they don"t know what is and isn"t socially acceptable. The argument from authority won"t do anything to add to the case.

""it is especially important to be inclusive with other groups since we are supposed to all have the right to life, liberty and property"
Not seeing the connection between life, liberty, property and religion. Well, maybe for liberty."
Property. I can just refuse to sell a home to a minority I don"t like. Gee, great. Also they could have their things taken away for an arbitrary reason. Yay.
Life? How can you not see that? If one person has the right to life their own life the way they see fit, why shouldn"t a minority? There is a connection.

First of all, there is nothing unconstitutional about a child praying in school. I think it"s really weird how people continue to say "they don"t allow us to pray in school!" when that is totally not true (1). You could even write college reports about the bible too! The only thing that is officially unconstitutional is any type of government interference with religion (that includes things like teacher lead religious clubs, they have to be student lead for it to be constitutional.)
Also I need to ask a few questions:
Do you believe it is right to have religion and government connect?
Do you think Christians are persecuted?
What do you think of Atheism?




“Yeah… intercom of schools every morning.”
I think you missed my point here. I was saying that the phrase “Under God” reinforced the Founder’s idea that the government could not take away someone’s rights, not necessarily that a god exists (that’s for another debate). The pledge was not made by the government, it was written by Francis Bellamy.[1] Congress merely adopted it in 1942. [2]

“It isn"t even that society will fall… actually taking it away.”
If you don’t like the words in the Pledge, then don't recite it. The US Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to force someone, students in particular, to recite the Pledge. [3] So if you are being forced to recite the Pledge in School, just tell them that it’s unconstitutional to force you to do so, according to the Supreme Court.

“There are states where Atheists can"t even run for office… boundaries?”
Is that why atheist Cecil Bothwell won an election in North Carolina? When he won, opponents attempted to invoke this law to prevent him from having his seat on a city council, but failed. [4] There are plenty of laws that are still “in the books” but are not enforced. For instance, I found one in Memphis, Tennessee that say that women are not allowed to drive by themselves, and that “a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists.”[5]

“Also they are discriminated against when it comes to child custody… those were the only factors to go into this.”
I could make the very same case for Christians, that they are being persecuted:

Freedoms of speech and press are guaranteed to students unless the topic is religious, at which point such speech becomes unconstitutional. Stein v. Oshinsky, 1965; Collins v. Chandler Unified School Dist., 1981

In a high-school class in Tennessee, students were required to write a research paper. Despite being allowed to write about reincarnation, witchcraft, and the occult, because student Brittney Settle chose to write her paper about the life of Jesus, her teacher gave her a zero. [6]

A teacher at Cerro Gordo Elementary School in North Carolina assigned a paper about who the students looked up to as their heroes. Ryleigh Watts told her teacher that she wanted to write about Jesus Christ and her teacher promptly told her no. [7]

A teacher from Memphis told her student that she was not allowed to write about God being her idol. [8]

And that is just in school.

“They have consistently conflicting beliefs… add to the case.”
Ah, but they did agree on the US being a Christian nation (See my Round 1 argument).“what is best for our country” is subjective, hence people having different political ideologies. Also, being “Socially acceptable” does not mean that something is right. For example, slavery was socially acceptable at one point, but we now believe it to be wrong.

“If one person has the right to life their own life the way they see fit, why shouldn"t a minority? There is a connection.”
If I have this inherent right to live as I think I should, then why am I not living it up in some mansion that sits on hundreds of acres of land somewhere deep in the mountains with a new Jeep Wrangler? (Just a dream of mine)

“Property. I can just refuse to sell a home to a minority I don"t like. Gee, great.”
I concede this point.

“First of all, there is nothing unconstitutional about a child praying in school.”
Then why did the court say it was? Reed v. van Hoven, 1965. [9]


Answer to your questions:
1) I believe it Necessary to have Christianity and Government connected. But only to a certain point.
2) Yes, to some degree.
3) I believe it to be wrong. (Again, that is for another debate)

I apologize for such a short round. I do not have much time this weekend.

9) Myth of Separation, David Barton
Debate Round No. 3


"I think you missed my point here." I could say the same for you, since it seems you didn"t understand the point I was trying to make. "Under God" implies religion, and since it was adopted by the government, it cannot be played in a secular area (school) with religious connotations to it. It also implies Christianity, because Jewish people believe in Yahweh, and Muslims believe in Allah. God is not the same word for every religion, so of course it will still favor others.
"There are plenty of laws that are still "in the books" but are not enforced." Yes, are there are outdated laws that manage to get enforced if the Supreme Court wants it to be enforced. Our system is easily corrupted and is being corrupted (also voters make bad decisions: Donald Trump has a chance to be president!) which puts our country in danger. Just as you"ve listed your court cases which disadvantaged Christians, there are countless more that disadvantage everyone else, especially minorities.
""First of all, there is nothing unconstitutional about a child praying in school."
Then why did the court say it was? Reed v. van Hoven, 1965. [9]" As for this, I could easily use the same argument that you used for the Atheists not being allowed to run for office argument I made. I know plenty of students that can pray before a meal, and I never see this law enforced. Also, there are a lot of schools which religious students actively practice their beliefs. (5)
Collins v. Chandler was denying prayer in a school assembly. If it was private prayers then there would be a problem but the school is a public school and you can"t conduct a prayer during an assembly like that. This isn"t persecution, this is making sure people don"t overstep their boundaries.
Stein v. Oshinsky, 1965 " Teachers are not allowed to do anything which isn"t secular in school. As for the children not being able to pray, I"ve said it before that I disagree with not allowing children to pray in school. However this one isolated case is not the law of our land. Children are allowed to pray in school, and they have been for some time. Just like you argued that they law preventing Atheists from holding office haven"t been used, you can also say the same for children praying in school.
(About your link #6)
"The teacher offered several reasons for rejecting the paper. She wanted students to dispassionately research a new topic, she said, not to dwell on something on which they already had strong, personal opinions."
You didn"t mention that when explaining the situation, and I think that is a little unfair. "Despite being allowed to write about reincarnation, witchcraft, and the occult,"
Most people don"t believe in that, but many people believe in Jesus. The teacher was not wrong for rejecting the paper, especially when Britney was told in advance that she wasn"t allowed to do it. Britney decided to write the paper anyways, which got her a zero. There isn"t clear evidence that the teacher even did it specifically because of the religion either.
Elliot Mincberg says in this article "This was supposed to be a research paper, not an opinion paper. If the courts are going to second-guess a teacher's decision in a case like this, it will mean just the kind of meddling in local affairs that conservatives always say they oppose." Just like it says research papers can"t have personal opinions.
You just seemed to have just cherry-picked from this article. There is plenty of valid reasoning for not allowing Britney from writing her Jesus paper.
(Addressing Link #7) This is a heavily biased source and all links related to this story are either religious or conservative.
(Addressing answers to the questions I gave you.) It sounds just like the stereotypical "Christians are persecuted" even though a majority of our country is Christians and all of the politicians basically have to be Christian to be liked by the people. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? It"s like if there is a white person saying they are being persecuted in a nearly all white neighborhood, and with only a few minority families living there. When you are part of a religion that has a stranglehold on a majority of the world, one of the number one religions, influence a huge amount of things people believe, and it the easiest way to be favorable in the public eye, that religion is not persecuted. Far from it, in fact. (Let"s not forget that a many wars were fought over religion, the Crusades being one of them. Christianity has too much power in the world, there should be no denying that. Trying to say that they aren"t that powerful and that they are persecuted is just lying.)
Also I checked out this website (2) that lists the places where Christians are persecuted the most, and guess what? The United States, The UK, Canada, and most other first world countries are not even on the list. You can"t play the victim card in an extremely religious country, especially since the real victims are people like Muslims (because of stereotypes and ISIS) and Atheists (I hope I don"t have to explain why.) This website is all about Christian persecution, but even it says that Christians aren"t heavily persecuted here. Almost all of the stories are of events outside countries like the United States, and they don"t even take place in majority Atheist countries (just in case you wanted to make a point against Atheism.)
Also take a look at this: (3) (3)
If we were to allow Christian beliefs to fuse with our laws, it would not end well. The Bible endorses many outdated beliefs which almost no one would support today (slavery, incest, animal sacrifice, war, murder, homophobia, patriarchal rule, mindless submission, and much more.)
Letting the two mix means allowing someone to argue for these beliefs to be implemented. Don"t say that it won"t happen either, giving someone the ability to do so will mean someone will argue for it at some point.
Also, what gives Christianity the right to have more power than other religions? If you think Christianity is better fit to be in law than other religions than that would basically be a holier-than-thou mentality. If your reasoning is that Christianity is the "one true religion" then that wouldn"t even be good reasoning. Every religion claims that, so someone else doing that wouldn"t make a difference. Christianity is no more fit a religion than any other, so it has no right to be in government while other religions aren"t.
We are not a theocracy either, if you want religion and government to mix than I suggest you move to a theocratic nation and see how that suits you. Here we let the people decide (even though it doesn"t always work out) and not all people want religious beliefs in their government (in fact most wouldn"t and that"s why government is supposed to be secular.)
What if I thought that Islam was the religion that should be involved with government? Do I have any right to force women to cover up simply because I think my beliefs are good for government?
We are doing fine (or as close to fine as we could be) without religion. People realize that murder and theft is wrong without religion, that people deserve to do what they want with themselves and their bodies, but most of the people who oppose this are religious people. Most pro-lifers are Christians (taking away a women"s choice in what she does with her body is wrong, period.) most anti-gay marriage people are religious, and many Conservative people in general are religious (so are the people opposing them, because this country is so religious like I said before.) People often use their religion as an excuse to support things that often limit the rights of others. I think it isn"t fair to constantly use excuses; people should be thinking about other people"s liberties and rights when they make decisions like that and not their personal beliefs.
Why do you feel the need to force a religion"s agenda on all the people of this nation?


Thank’s Pro for a quick response.


“I could say the same for you… it will still favor others.”
The word “God” is just a general term among Christianity, as well as other religions to describe the supreme being that created the universe. There are multiple names for God that are used in the many faiths, God is just the most general term. [1]

“there are countless more that disadvantage everyone else, especially minorities”
Provide a few examples please.

“I could easily use the same argument… beliefs.”
There is a difference between being unconstitutional and being enforced. I was arguing that it was not against the law for atheists to be elected only in part because it hadn’t been enforced. The part that I wish that I had added was that that law is unconstitutional because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that to require any religious test was unconstitutional. Torcaso v. Watkins [2] But, again, I did not have the time to post everything that I wanted to, so I apologize if that was unclear.

Stein v. Oshinsky

The board of Ed. “instituted a policy banning prayers in the public schools even when the opportunity to pray is sought by the students themselves” [3]

I understand the ruling against teachers instructing students to recite prayers, but not allowing them to recite prayers even if they wish to do so is a clear overstep on the part of the Courts. Also, you say that you disagree with not allowing children to pray, but you want the “Separation of Church and State” to be more heavily enforced. If it was more heavily enforced, these rulings by the Supreme Court would become the law of the land.

“Just like you argued that they law preventing Atheists from holding office haven"t been used,” Mainly because those laws have been ruled unconstitutional, and therefore, void. “you can also say the same for children praying in school.”

“Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution trump the restriction in the state constitution”
Bob Orr [4]

This quote outlines the difference between the religious tests and and prayer in school. The Court has ruled that voluntary prayer is unconstitutional. It has also ruled that the religious tests are unconstitutional, making the aforementioned tests void.

Link # 6

My opponent claims that I “cherry-picked” through this article. It certainly looks like that, but as previously stated, due to my busy weekend, I only skimmed articles, trying to find relevant information, and overlooking anything that didn’t look like that it would help my case. It’s not that I chose to use certain information and leave out the rest, I just did not have the time to address everything.

Anyways, regarding the reason that the teacher gave, there is no evidence that the teacher knew that the student had strong personal beliefs about the life of Jesus Christ. For all we know, the student just came up with the topic because it would be interesting to read (which I’ve done with almost ALL of my papers in High school). Here is something to consider: What if there was proof that Jesus of Nazareth actually existed? What if that paper analyzed whether Jesus was who he said he was? There are secular ways to write papers on religious subjects.

Link # 7

This is just ridiculous. The only thing I used it for was to talk about an actual event that actually happened. I did not derive my arguments from this website. I did not give any statistics from this website. I simply used it to give an example of a student not being able to write a paper about Jesus, in response to pro’s statement “You could even write college reports about the bible too!” I just noticed this, but you have been so focused on public education, yet you say, look we can write about it in college! Yes, that is because we have 2441 private institutions across the US. So writing college papers has nothing to do with the debate. [5] And yes I know it is not the most up-to-date information, but it is the closest thing I could find. Anyways, to call into question Link 7 is basically calling into question the occurrence of the event.

Questions you asked me:

“It sounds just like… against Atheism.)”
Make a straw-man of me why don’t you? You never asked id I thought that Christians were persecute in the US. Also, I never said that Christians were persecuted in the US, I simply said that they were somewhat persecuted. Not to mention, there are many Christians that believe that there are "actual Christians", those who claim to be Christians, and those who are not. Also, the Crusades have nothing to do with our current debate. And no, I do not want to “make a point against Atheism”. My goal is not to make Atheism look bad. And if I wanted to “make a point against Atheism,” I would have started a debate entitled “Resolved: God Exists.”

“If we were to allow Christian beliefs... and much more.)”

Ok, let’s look at your logic here: The Bible says it, therefore Christian’s believe it.

This is not necessarily true. Christians do not believe that Slavery is right. Christians do not believe murder is right. Christians do not believe is right, though many believe that it is justifiable. Christians do not practice animal sacrifice. Mindless Submission? Last I checked, I believed that humans free will. Incest? Last I checked, the Bible denounced Incest:

“Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.” - Deuteronomy 27:22

“Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.” - Deuteronomy 27:23

Homophobia? Last I checked, I had a few homosexual friends, I simply do not believe with their decisions.

Christian Beliefs Already intertwined with our Government:

"You shall not kill" (Murder)

"You shall not steal"

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Lying in court)

Just to name a few of them.

"taking away a women"s choice in what she does with her body is wrong, period.)"

So it's our right to kill a developing baby, gotcha.

As far as using religious arguments, have you taken a look at my debates? I have done two or three gay marriage debates and I didn't use a religious argument either time.

"Why do you feel the need to force a religion"s agenda on all the people of this nation?"

Well, it is what all Christians are called to do.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." -Matthew 28:19

Not to mention, I could ask you the same question since apparently, Atheism is a religion now.







I am glad to see this debate coming to a close with the next round being the easiest: Conclusions.

Back to you, Pro.
Debate Round No. 4


"The word "God" is just a general term among Christianity, as well as other religions"" Generally, yes, but what about Atheism? Or Buddhism? Or any other belief that does not worship a God? It is still favoring one group over another, so you haven't proven anything about this.

"Also, you say that you disagree with not allowing children to pray"If it was more heavily enforced, these rulings by the Supreme Court would become the law of the land."
Whoa. Can we step back a minute? Just because I think the Separation of Church and State needs to be heavily enforced, that doesn't mean I"m a religion hating a**hole who wants to ban it from the public eye. I just think people can get away with creating laws that favor AND/OR disadvantage other religions. That's like saying that because a person wants a bigger government they're suddenly in favor of government control over everything in our lives. I want equality for all groups, religious or not.

Link #6
Britney (the student) was given the assignment, and they were to present the topic to the teacher for approval. When she proposed Jesus the teacher rejected the idea. We have no idea whether the teacher knew about her beliefs, but considering that about 2.2 billion people are Christian it was likely a topic close to her (not only is she was Christian, but also if Christianity had affected her life drastically.) I don't think that a person is likely to write an emotional paper on wiccans or something of that nature.
Link #7
I never questioned that your arguments came from here, I questioned whether the event had actually happened. All the sites posting this story had either a religious or conservative bias so I had doubts.
"Make a straw-man of me why don't you?" Let's go back a little bit, shall we? "Do you think Christians are persecuted?" "2) Yes, to some degree." I did ask that, and you said yes.
Not a strawman if you believe it. Also "somewhat" still means you believe it happens, just not to as large a degree as others believe. Canada, England, and plenty of others don"t have Christian persecution, not just the US.
"There are many Christians that believe that there are "actual Christians"" and those who are not." No true Scotsman? (google "true Scotsman fallacy")
Also those laws you listed aren't "Christian beliefs" because we've had laws like that thousands of years before Christianity was even created. Using empathy and logic I come to the same conclusion that it is wrong to kill and steal without a God telling me to do so.
"So it's our right to kill a developing baby, gotcha." Did you pay attention in health class? It is a fetus, not a baby. I think it"s a d**k move to force something like that to parents. Also orphanages suck, and overpopulation is a problem, and rape/incest cases, and letting teen girls finish school, and letting people wait until they think they are even capable of raising a child, and so much more. I could go into this more but it would be better off as a separate debate.
"As far as using religious arguments, have you taken a look at my debates?" I didn't accuse you of that. Plenty of other religious people have done it, however.
Atheism is not a religion. It is simply a person saying "I don't believe in any god or gods." There is nothing to worship. A religion requires a belief system and worship, but Atheism isn't tied by that. If we were officially a religion we would have tax exemption, but we don"t.

The Separation of Church and State ensures that no religion will try to force its way into our secular government system, and ensures that all religions will have an equal standing in our country.
We cannot let certain beliefs, or lack thereof, be disadvantaged and legally persecuted simply because of a few intolerant people. It has happened in the past, and it will happen once more if this separation is not enforced properly.
Religions in past have only started bloody war and bigotry over beliefs for power and influence in the world, but that shouldn't be the case in a democratic nation.

By keeping the government in check and making sure people are as equal as possible, it will help reduce bigotry towards other groups. People will be able to express their beliefs freely and can feel more comfortable with people of a different belief. This has proven to happen with race (although not completely) and sexuality, which is in the middle of becoming tolerated by the opposition. As long as we continue to place everyone at an equal standing, there could be a day when bigotry isn't such a large problem anymore and we can all live equally.

However, if we do not enforce the separation, I can guarantee the opposite. Laws based solely in religion could easily be passed this way, and if it is from a major religion it will be too difficult to stop. Another thing is, many politicians have this type of agenda in mind and they have tried to get these types of laws passed. The fact that it has been ALLOWED before just shows that we are on thin ice. Who would want one religion, especially if you don't belong to it, to rule over them? Why should we allow laws to be passed if they don't respect people's liberties? We have no idea how far people will be willing to go to spread their beliefs and enforce them, but then again some of us do. Those people should understand the grave consequences of not keeping government secular.

I lost my train of thought so I'll just say this: wanting your religion over all others is not only selfish, but unfair to everyone. boo~


Thank you Pro for your response.

I assume that since Pro provided rebuttals in the last round, that it is permissible for me to do the same, or at least to defend my arguments. So without further ado


“but what about Atheism? Or Buddhism?… you haven't proven anything about this.”

You stated earlier that “It [the word “God”] also implies Christianity, because Jewish people believe in Yahweh, and Muslims believe in Allah.” Did you not? Were you not saying that it implied Christianity? I simply countered your argument that “God” implied Christianity.

“Just because I think the Separation of Church and State… it from the public eye.”

I never accused you of being one. I simply said that though you may not agree with the ruling, that ruling would be “more heavily enforced” if “Separation of Church and State” is “more heavily enforced.” Please don’t misconstrue my words for the sake of having something to refute.

Link 6

The point I was attempting to establish was that there is no absolute proof that her reason for denying the student to write about Jesus was because she did not want her students “to dwell on something on which they already had strong, personal opinions.” People come up with excuses all of the time. I guarantee that there were other students in that class that wrote on topics that they had strong feelings about.

Link 7

So you did not believe that the event took place. If it did not take place, then why were there not any news media sources with liberal and anti-religious biases denying it?


“Let's go back a little bit… not just the US.”

I appreciate you laying out the groundwork for my rebuttal, it saves me from having to spend vast amounts of characters in order to argue.

You asked me, “Do you think Christians are persecuted?” to which I replied, “Yes.” You then go on to argue that Americans are not persecuted in the US, which is not what you asked, and not what I answered. I merely observed that there are Christians out there somewhere that are being persecuted. I did not specify where. So it is still a Straw-man.

“No true Scotsman?”

I committed a No True Scotsman Fallacy? Most certainly not. An example of a No True Scotsman fallacy would be as follows: “If you do not like Barbecue, you are un-American.” The problem with this phrase is that liking Barbecue is not an integral part of being American, nor does it what defines what “American” is. It is simply an attribute that many Americans possess.

Now, the distinction between my No True Scotsman example and my statement about there being “actual” Christians and those that only say that they are Christians is this, There are many that claim to be Christians, but do not display the integral traits of what a Christian should be (Or does not believe an integral part of the Christian faith). For instance, one of my old friends claimed to be a Christian, but she did not believe that Jesus rose from the dead (an integral belief of Christianity).

“Did you pay attention in health class? It is a fetus, not a baby.”

Of course not. The main reason being is that I did not take health class, I took Army JROTC instead. Also, I am inclined to disagree with you that a fetus is not a baby (or human). My reasoning behind this is that a fetus is Genetically indistinguishable (within reason) from a human. But again, that is for another debate.

“overpopulation is a problem”

A Simple Solution to a Hard Problem

If you are worried about overpopulation, don’t conceive.

"As far as using religious arguments, have you taken a look at my debates?" I didn't accuse you of that. Plenty of other religious people have done it, however.

I never said that you accused me. What I was trying to convey was that there are usually secular arguments for things that happen to back up religious beliefs.

“Atheism is not a religion.”

That is exactly my point.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

How can you prohibit the free exercise of Atheism if it is not a religion?


The Court handed down an unprecedented ruling by applying a the 14th Amendment to the States. On top of that, it misconstrued Jefferson's words, which were borrowed from a Baptist preacher. I proved that America was founded on Christianity, and argument which Pro ultimately dropped.

Religion is being taken out of our society, not being inserted into it. Since Everson v. Board of Education, 1947, The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to voluntarily pray over your lunch during school. It is unconstitutional for students to arrive early to school to pray with other Christians.

The goal of the Phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is not to "respect the establishment of a religion," rather it is meant to reinforce our Founder's Idea that rights are unalienable. As the word "God" is a general term in multiple religions, not just Christianity.

Any state laws requiring religious tests to run for office are unconstitutional and not applicable today.

Teachers are refusing to students the right to exercise religion, by not allowing them to read Bibles in free time, and not allowing them to write research papers on the life of Jesus.




Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Kitchen_Sink 6 months ago
>Reported vote: // Mod action: Removed<

[*Reason for removal*] The way white people is.
Posted by Bluepaintcan123 1 year ago
I had to cut a lot out to make it fit with the word limit, but you get the point.

1 .
2 .
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Posted by Bluepaintcan123 1 year ago
Defending previous arguments is fine.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
Would you mind posting your argument as late as possible? I will not be on much the next few days. Thanks.


Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
Since I have some characters left, would it be ok if I defend my arguments?
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago

1. Myth of Separation, What is the correct relationship between Church and State? - David Barton
7. Declaration of Independence, Printed by the Heritage Foundation

If the links do not work, please let me know.

My entire argument:
Google Docs is being difficult, so I will not be able to provide a link. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
I will post my argument sometime on Monday. I have to write some papers for school first.
Posted by Bluepaintcan123 1 year ago
At the top there is a counter that lets you know how long you have to post your argument (two to three days.)
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
I am thinking about accepting, but I have one very important question:
1. How long do we have to post arguments?
No votes have been placed for this debate.