The Instigator
XionChan
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MailboxVegetable
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

The Legitimacy of Separation of Church and State

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after 1 vote the winner is...
MailboxVegetable
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/15/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 702 times Debate No: 59011
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

XionChan

Con

I will be against the practice of "Separation of Church and State."
I don't have any set rules, so you can either make the first round acceptance or you can make it an argument.

My first direction of opposition:
The separation of church and state is NOT in the Constitution.
The First Amendment says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This "Establishment Clause" was misinterpreted.

"At an absolute minimum, the Establishment Clause was intended to prohibit the federal government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion, such as existed in many other countries at the time of the nation's founding. It is far less clear whether the Establishment Clause was also intended to prevent the federal government from supporting Christianity in general. Proponents of a narrow interpretation of the clause point out that the same First Congress that proposed the Bill of Rights also opened its legislative day with prayer and voted to apportion federal dollars to establish Christian missions in the Indian lands. On the other hand, persons seeing a far broader meaning in the clause point to writings by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison suggesting the need to establish "a wall of separation" between church and state." ~ http://law2.umkc.edu...

Now, these writings by Thomas Jefferson are also misinterpreted.

The original letter he wrote said:
(credit to: http://www.free2pray.info...)
"To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut
Gentleman,

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, 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 and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Th. Jefferson

January 1, 1802 "

What he means by "separation of church and state" was only to protect the Danbury church from government infiltration and rules. He never intended government to take the religion away from the state, but only to prevent the state from taking the religion away.

Now, back to the First Amendment, in case somebody wants to argue about it.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
This was only said to prevent America to set a national religion. They created this Amendment because they didn't want another "Church of England" incident again.

"....or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....."
To connect this with the history of "separation of church and state" is a double standard. If you suspend a student from school because he prayed aloud during lunch, or if he participated in morning prayer, that is infringement of the "free exercise thereof."
(I can bring up my examples of praying aloud or participated in morning prayer cases up, in case you think I'm just making things up.)

So. I'm the Con against the practice of "Separation of Church and State."
MailboxVegetable

Pro

Thank you, Con for creating this debate. I'm looking forward to an intelligent discussion.

1. The separation of church and state is definitely in the constitution.
Some people like to argue that the exact phrase, "separation of church and state" does not appear in the constitution. While this is true, the idea of the separation of church and state remains in the Establishment Clause of the First amendment, stating, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.."

What this instructs the government to do is to essentially take a neutral stance on religion. The fact that the government can make no law respecting an establishment of religion means that they cannot prefer one religion over the other officially, or make laws appropriating funds or help to any establishment of religion. At the same time, congress is not allowed to impede on the religious rights of the people to practice their religion as they please (so long as they do not break any established laws.) If their religious practice breaks established laws, obviously we cannot respect the aspect of their religious practice that breaks the law. Muslims are not allowed to stone adulterers to death, and likewise radical Christians are not allowed to stone homosexuals to death. The First Amendment basically requires the government to remain neutral on issues of faith. It is not allowed to have any positive or negative statements about religion, and it will only take action when someone breaks a law because of their religious or cultist beliefs. As long as the religion and its people stay within the confines of the law, government should remain neutral.

If you think that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.." only prohibits them from establishing a national religion, then you are sorely mistaken. It literally means that they cannot make any law respecting an establishment of religion. They cannot allow one religion to receive preferential treatment over another, they cannot make meetings open with voluntary prayer, and they cannot include religious teachings in public education. Under the First Amendment, the government simply has to remain neutral on issues of religion.

And furthermore, the writings of Thomas Jefferson are not misinterpreted.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, 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 and State." -Thomas Jefferson
When he writes this, he means that the First Amendment literally separates government from religion. He did not write this saying that this amendment only protects religion from the government; he really believes that it separates the institutions from each other. Any attempts to argue for another interpretation of this statement aims to say that, "thus building a wall of separation between church and state" doesn't mean the exact thing it says.

We should not only take it on the authority of the constitution and founding fathers that separation of church and state is legitimate, but we should also examine the positives and negatives of having a secular government.

2. Separation of church and state is essential in a diverse population.
There are numerous different religions populating the United States, along with the widely differing sects and beliefs within each religion. In fact, many people who share the same faith and sect still have differing beliefs about the aspects of the religion. This results in millions of people all disagreeing with each other on matters of faith with each one thinking that they know with absolute certainty what their God or Gods want.

In order to create peace and harmony within these religious groups, one group cannot have power over another. As soon as one religion or sect starts gaining power in the government, the various other religions want power too. And so, each religion and sect tries to insert their own beliefs into law and even start discriminating against other religions and sects. This is a recipe for hatred that has often erupted in civil war, discrimination, oppression, and secession. The fact is that if we are to preserve unity and peace within a religiously diverse population, the government should remain neutral and separate from religion.

Instead of allowing religious dogma into law, we should instead use objective reasoning and scientific studies to determine what laws will create the most good. I don't imagine you would be pleased if a different sect or religion other than yours started gaining power in the government and started putting their fallacious dogma into law. It is really in the best interest of all parties involved to separate religion from the government so that we can have peace and harmony among our various religious groups.

3. If the government respects or supports one religion, it must do the same to all religions.
A good example of this is how an Oklahoman city council commissioned a statue of the Ten Commandments on the building's premises. Because of their commission of the Ten Commandments, a group identifying as the Satanic Temple is also petitioning to erect a statue right next to the ten commandments. The statue portrays two children sitting on Satan's lap next to a stone tablet of a pentagram.
http://www.theverge.com...
The group has stated that they will not attempt to put it on government grounds if the Ten Commandments are taken off of state property. If the government decides that the Ten Commandments are allowed to be placed there while the Satanic Statue is not, then it will be effectively take a stance respecting and supporting one religion over the other.

The fact is that this problem is a giant waste of time that could have been avoided by not placing the Ten Commandments there in the first place. The government should not concern itself with issues of religion and instead should avoid the problem of a religious power struggle by separating itself from religion. There is simply no reason for a statue of the Ten Commandments or a statue of Satan to be erected on government property.

Ultimately, people who support the merger of religion and government are advocating for only their religion to be merged into government; not any other religion. The United States is and should continue to be a secular nation that does not discriminate or prefer any religious group over the other. One of the most important indicators of a free nation is freedom of religion, and separation of any religion from government.

I agree with you that a student should not be suspended for praying aloud during lunch; that seems rather excessive. Of course you should be free to pray during school, as annoying as that may be to other people. If a student is punished for praying during school, then that is a violation of the First Amendment's statement that the government should not prohibit the free exercise of religion. A Muslim student should be allowed to pray during school since he is required by his faith to pray five times a day. He just shouldn't pray during class time when the student is supposed to be paying attention. In fact if the student is doing anything other than pay attention while the teacher is lecturing, then that is valid grounds for punishment. In that case, it is only because the student wasn't paying attention; not because the student was praying. But if you want to pray outside of class time or during work time, sure. There's nothing objectively wrong about that. Although I imagine praying aloud would be quite annoying to some people and probably wouldn't be allowed.

As far as I'm concerned, you can talk to any deity or invisible person you want if your school work is done or if you are out of class. You can write a letter to Santa, pray to Vishnu, pray to Allah; whatever you want just so long as you aren't irritating people around you. If you do this though, don't be surprised and don't complain when people challenge you on your faith or display their Islamic faith or atheism.

Despite this, teachers should not bring their religion to school. They are government workers who are educating youth and should not advocate Islam, or Hinduism, or Christianity during class. The government simply asks that teachers take a Socratic Seminar type of approach to religion and exhibit no opinions about it. Basically they should let the students come to their own conclusions. Teachers should not be allowed to advocate their religion or lack thereof to a group of young and impressionable minds. They are government workers subject to the same laws as every other government worker while they are on the job.

Thus, I hope people come to see how important separation of religion from government is in a religiously diverse and peaceful society. In order to maintain good relations and harmony, the government must remain neutral on religion.
Debate Round No. 1
XionChan

Con

Thank you for accepting my debate; and what a great first argument you put up.

Yes, it is true that if one religion should be respected, then all religions should, as well. That's why we should teach all dominating religions in school, not just Christianity, Satanism, and all else.

You are correct in saying that the First Amendment guarantees a government established religion, as I said, and this is how I will enter into my main second argument, after I deal with yours.

I'm a little confused on what you mean when you said, "It literally means that they cannot make any law respecting an establishment of religion." I think I may have been picky on what I stated in my argument above, but I thought I acknowledged that in my first argument. (Of course, if that wasn't clear, then that is a fault on my part, as I am still learning about proper argumental etiquette [I'm not stating this as a liability reason.])
I also agree on letting government respecting all religions, not favoring one over the other.

As far as opening prayer is concerned, the Supreme Court acknowledged that prayers may be involuntary, and people don't have to pray during them in the case of Engel v. Vitale in 1962, but still prohibited them, (in the case of school-sponsorship), which is a little unfair. Even if it was a nondenominational prayer, at that.
(Full story on Engel case is here: http://www.uscourts.gov...)

On the case of Jefferson's letter, I strongly believe that he was assuring the Danbury Baptists that they wouldn't have to worry about the government making laws against them. It was their concern that they addressed Jefferson.
From http://www.wallbuilders.com..., the letter from the Danbury Baptists states:

"The address of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801.
To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America

Sir,
Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office, we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your inauguration , to express our great satisfaction in your appointment to the Chief Magistracy in the Unite States. And though the mode of expression may be less courtly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, sir, to believe, that none is more sincere.

Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights. And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore, if those who seek after power and gain, under the pretense of government and Religion, should reproach their fellow men, [or] should reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dares not, assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States is not the National Legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each State, but our hopes are strong that the sentiment of our beloved President, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these States--and all the world--until hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and goodwill shining forth in a course of more than thirty years, we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the Chair of State out of that goodwill which he bears to the millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you--to sustain and support you and your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.

Signed in behalf of the Association,

Neh,h Dodge }
Eph'm Robbins } The Committee
Stephen S. Nelson }"

The Danbury Baptists were concerned that the government may make powers oppressive to the church.
Of course, you may argue back that churches are always protected, whether it be the Establishment clause or the First Amendment on it's own, and thus brings me to my second argument.

The so-called Establishment Clause is a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Exact wording check provided by "The Myth Of Separation" by David Barton)

In the First Amendment, it only says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
This means, as stated, that Congress can not establish a religion, nor can it show it's stance on religion.

The States were not mentioned in the First Amendment (the Constitution was to guarantee the powers and protection of the States, not the powers and protection of the government, or Congress.)

Thus, the States are allowed to make their own rules concerning religion, and any Supreme Court order against a state law is a violation of the First and Tenth Amendment. Why would Congress, our Founding Fathers, the writers on the Constitution, make a double standard in their document that is supposed to be the basis of America? (If you mention Amendment Eighteen, they repealed it and made it void with the Twenty-first Amendment.)

To support my argument on the States' rights concerning religion, let me establish a scenario.

The minimum working age for Texas is sixteen. This does not make every state's requirements for work sixteen, it is only a preference that Texas has set.
My father assured me that the minimum working age is fourteen in Alaska, and a friend says the minimum working age is fourteen in Indiana.
Age of consent varies in each state; age of driver eligibility varies in each state.

Bringing up petty examples, why would variance of ages and requirements vary from state to state mean that states cannot vary their rules respecting religion?

I know my state, Texas, is a "red" state, and we have a lot of conservatives, right-wing, family oriented citizens living in our state. But there is always a select few who don't have the same thoughts. I can understand state petitions wishing to change laws and such; that is completely ethical and fair. But to have the Supreme Court force rules saying that laws violate the Establishment clause of the First Amendment is a violation of the Tenth Amendment.

Even historically, states were allowed to establish their own religion. (When some of the New England states were formed, they had state religions. Pennsylvania was Protestant.)

So, once again, my point is, that it is a guaranteed right to the states to set up a religion for said state, as the First Amendment did not say whether or not a state can establish it's own religion, but only that Congress may not establish a national religion, or as you said, favor one religion over another.
MailboxVegetable

Pro

I must admit, this is an interesting point you've brought up. For a long time, the bill of rights only applied to the federal government rather than state and local governments. This double standard of protecting individual's rights on the federal level while somewhat dismissing them at the state and local levels is basically what allowed slavery and other violations of rights to exist. People reasoned that because the bill of rights did not mention the states in various sections, then it was the state's right on whether to exercise that power (whether it took away peoples rights or not). In short, you are correct that the bill of rights did not include the state and local governments for a long chunk of our history. Because of the states' exclusion from having to follow the bill of rights, this allowed them many times to take away the rights of people within the state through things such as slavery, segregation, and various forms of discrimination.

That is, until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. The Fourteenth Amendment states in section 1, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

This is called the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and it has been used in many supreme court cases to incorporate the bill of rights against the states. The Fourteenth Amendment basically secures everyone's right to the same privileges, respect, and freedom that every other citizen has. It secures for the common man the rights that are dictated in the bill of rights, such as the guarantee against establishment of religion, guarantee of free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, right to petition for redress of grievances, etc..

Here are the supreme court cases whose decisions incorporated the first amendment against the states:
Guarantee against establishment of religion: Everson v. Board of Education- http://en.wikipedia.org...
Freedom of religion: Cantwell v. Connecticut- http://en.wikipedia.org...
Freedom of speech: Gitlow v. New York- http://en.wikipedia.org...
Freedom of the press: Near v. Minnesota- http://en.wikipedia.org...
Freedom of assembly: DeJonge v. Oregon- http://en.wikipedia.org...

It is because of the incorporation doctrine that our religious rights are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment in conjunction with the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has numerous cases where it has incorporated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to apply to the states under the Due Process Clause. The Due Process Clause states specifically about citizen's rights, "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.." And the Supreme Court has interpreted these privileges, immunities, and liberties as the rights dictated in the bill of rights. The state cannot make a law respecting an establishment of religion because that would be abridging the rights guaranteed to the people in the First Amendment. Basically, the Supreme Court has held that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is one of the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Every citizen should have the right to be free from an established religion in government, and so the Establishment Clause is now applied to the states as well.

"So, once again, my point is, that it is a guaranteed right to the states to set up a religion for said state, as the First Amendment did not say whether or not a state can establish it's own religion, but only that Congress may not establish a national religion, or as you said, favor one religion over another."
To this I would have to say no. The states do not have the right to take away rights from its inhabitants. The Fourteenth Amendment in conjunction with the First Amendment guarantees that people be treated equally and fairly. And furthermore, if a state sets up an official religion, then that qualifies as unfair discrimination. The state cannot prefer one religion over the other without abridging the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. And so, any instance of government respecting a religion is basically a violation of the Due Process and Establishment Clauses.

And furthermore, what do you mean by saying states can establish an official religion? Do you think the states have the ability to appropriate tax money to the "official" religion, insert whatever religious dogma into education, or commission things advocating said religion? Because any instance in which the government prefers one religion over the other would be unfair discrimination abridging the privileges and immunities of the state's citizens who are not said religion or sect. Preferring or respecting one religion or a few select religions is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause, so the government must treat every religious group equally.

The guarantee to the people against their government respecting a religion without their consent is a fundamental right that every citizen has. This is a liberty that is protected under the Due Process Clause, and it must remain a protected right to ensure our diverse nation's prosperity. Because of the Fourteenth Amendment, the majority is no longer allowed to treat religious minorities with any less respect and credence than other groups. The state governments are now subject to the same standard as the federal government, and it cannot abridge the immunities, privileges, nor liberties of its citizens.
Debate Round No. 2
XionChan

Con

Your Fourteenth Amendment argument is indeed a good one, and I grimaced a few times.

I have my own opinions on the Fourteenth Amendment, and I plan on debating it in the future. Yes, it is true the states may not make laws that would infringe on the rights of it's people.

What would a state established religion do to prohibit the rights of the people? The only point in my argument was that states are, and should be, able to establish their own religion. I don't think that if State A wants to make it's religion, say, Christianity, that it would infringe on the rights of, say, an atheist. Just because a majority of a state may be Christian, this doesn't mean that the rights of an atheist or any other kind of religion that has views that are generally anti-Christian can't enjoy all the rights as a Christian would have in said state. It only allows this said religion the right in the states' federal facilities, like schools, post offices, etc., etc., if the offices wish to engage in the practice.

In an argument of employment or participation, I think private businesses have all the rights they want to have within reason. Religious or anti-religious, private businesses have the rights to deny service to anyone on any basis, once again, within reason.
Examples; recently, a lesbian couple were kicked out of a bar here in town for kissing on stage while they were dancing. This bar was a privately owned facility, was not a part of a franchise, and reserved the right to refuse service to anyone.

I am digressing. I only intend to use these examples to express that even if a state may have a religion, the businesses within the state can still do what they want.

I am reaffirming my states' rights argument based on the Tenth Amendment. And I will agree on you the point with the Fourteenth Amendment, so long as it may be connected side-by-side with the Tenth Amendment.

On your argument of religious equality. Once again, I am reaffirming my argument with the Tenth Amendment. So long as Congress does not endorse a uniform religion, it should be alright. Think of it this way.
State A is a Christian state. State B is Atheistic. State C is Mormon. State D is Satanic. State F is Shinto, and so forth.
If government funded all of these states, equally, then it wouldn't be a problem, since the the government is accepting all religions.
I can make a personal argument of religious discrimination, as well.

I don't mean to keep bringing up Christianity vs. Atheism, I just need to use it for a point.

Just recently, a family--who was Christian--was forced to take down a memorial for their dead relative. This memorial was in a shape of a huge cross. It was placed in front of a federal building (with permission). Somebody--who was Atheist--called and complained that this cross violates the Establishment clause, and forced this family to take it down. The Atheist took away this family's right to place a memorial (with permission) where they wanted to take it, because he felt uncomfortable.
I do understand, however, that you cannot place religious mementos in front of federal facilities, due to this Establishment clause, but this family got the permission of the facility.

Just as Atheists, or other religions can say Christians, or other religions take away or impose their religion on them, Christians, or other religions can say Atheists, or other religions, take away or impose their religion.

The reason I brought this up is that religious discrimination happens anyways, and it would only be peaceful if this "Separation of Church and State" was invalid, because, as I stated in my example, if different states set up all different kinds of religions, whether it'd be Atheism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Satanism, Islam, Hinduism, and so foth, and the government funded all of these states, it shouldn't be a problem. It would show that the government is accepting of all religions.

It may seem as though I am digressing, but this solution, or example, is a legitimate reason to say that the "Separation of Church and State" is illegitimate and unfair.

If they enforced the Establishment clause back during the times of the writing of the Constitution or the Declaration(which should be read coupled with the Constitution), then the early amendments of the Constitution and the Declaration itself are invalid, as the Supreme Court enforced in the case of Wallace v. Jaffree (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...):

" A bill becomes unconstitutional, even though the wording may be constitutionally acceptable, if the legislator had a religious activity in his mind when he authored it."

It is another argument in itself, but the Founding Fathers were indeed religious ( I don't mind debating this issue.)

Before I go on and on any further from the subject, I must stop now.
I thank you for such a great debate, and I hope we debate sometime again in the future.
MailboxVegetable

Pro

"What would a state established religion do to prohibit the rights of the people? The only point in my argument was that states are, and should be, able to establish their own religion. I don't think that if State A wants to make it's religion, say, Christianity, that it would infringe on the rights of, say, an atheist. Just because a majority of a state may be Christian, this doesn't mean that the rights of an atheist or any other kind of religion that has views that are generally anti-Christian can't enjoy all the rights as a Christian would have in said state. It only allows this said religion the right in the states' federal facilities, like schools, post offices, etc., etc., if the offices wish to engage in the practice."

Well, if the state government were to allow Christian symbols into say a post office and also deny a satanist to put his symbols in the same post office, then that would be unfair discrimination that directly goes against the Due Process clause and the Establishment clause as well. A major point I have been trying to make is that even if state governments were to disregard the First Amendment, they would still not be allowed to let one religion into government without letting them all in under the Fourteenth Amendment. Once again, if a state building allows a Ten Commandments statue on its property and also denies the Satanist Statue that is being petitioned to be put next to it, then that is religious discrimination violating the Fourteenth and First Amendments. These things have happened before with a Festivus pole and a Flying Spaghetti Monster idol being placed right next to a Nativity scene in the capitol of Florida. It will likely happen again with the previously mentioned statue of Satan next to the Ten Commandments.
Festivus and Flying Spaghetti Monster: http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
Satan statue: http://cnsnews.com...

I guarantee you, for every Christian or otherwise religious symbol someone puts on state property, there will be a statue of Satan or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. commissioned to sit right next to it. And if the state prevents them from doing this, then that will be unfair and religious discrimination that will result in them being punished. The Fourteenth Amendment demands that all people be treated equally regardless of religion. And you cannot give preferrential treatment to any religion without breaking the Due Process Clause. What this would mean is hundreds of instances of religion poking in on government affairs that will cost time and likely offend people.

"In an argument of employment or participation, I think private businesses have all the rights they want to have within reason. Religious or anti-religious, private businesses have the rights to deny service to anyone on any basis, once again, within reason."

This is somewhat of a different subject, but I will debate you on this. Under law, private businesses cannot refuse service to anyone on the issue of race, gender, religion, birthplace etc. The specific law that prevents this is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is a law that specifically states, "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." They don't have any grounds to deny service to anyone based on religion.

"I am digressing. I only intend to use these examples to express that even if a state may have a religion, the businesses within the state can still do what they want."

They can do what they want as long as they don't discriminate against people, and this includes religion. Businesses under law cannot discriminate against anyone on the basis of religion.

"On your argument of religious equality. Once again, I am reaffirming my argument with the Tenth Amendment. So long as Congress does not endorse a uniform religion, it should be alright. Think of it this way.
State A is a Christian state. State B is Atheistic. State C is Mormon. State D is Satanic. State F is Shinto, and so forth.
If government funded all of these states, equally, then it wouldn't be a problem, since the the government is accepting all religions."

You and I both know that the only religion that could possibly become the official religion in any state is Christianity. Christians make a majority in every single state. This would result in 50 Christian states, being no different than having a Christian Nation basically. And furthermore, even if other religions were to win in other states, there are still the religious minority in every single state who would disagree with the state religion. If a religious minority tried to insert a religious symbol into state government or tried to insert its religion where the "official" religion already was and was denied the ability to do this, then that is unfair discrimination that directly opposes the Fourteenth Amendment. States still cannot make any official religion even if they disregard the First Amendment. But because the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the First Amendment against the states, that example would be directly contradicting both of those amendments.

"The reason I brought this up is that religious discrimination happens anyways, and it would only be peaceful if this "Separation of Church and State" was invalid, because, as I stated in my example, if different states set up all different kinds of religions, whether it'd be Atheism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Satanism, Islam, Hinduism, and so foth, and the government funded all of these states, it shouldn't be a problem. It would show that the government is accepting of all religions."

Religious discrimination by law is not allowed. I don't know what religious discrimination you think there is going on right now, unless you think that people not being able to insert their religion into government is discrimination (which it is not). The government is forced to separate itself from religion, and as a result only takes a neutral stance as long as religions don't break the law. People trying to insert their religion into government is against the law, and thus the government must be forced to not let them. What you are proposing would not be peaceful whatsoever because of how it would strip the rights away from religious minorities in each state and also break the Fourteenth and First Amendments. The best course of action for everyone would be to agree that we must keep religion from corrupting the state, and the state from corrupting religion. We can all agree to live together and serve each other regardless of anyone's religion.

In conclusion:
I sincerely believe that what you are proposing would just serve to cause more hatred. Not only are states disallowed to insert any religion into government, but they also can't prefer any one religion over the other without facing punishment for violating the Due Process Clause. This would result in many religious symbols and statues being placed on federal property and various religions allowed into meetings to pray and perform religious rituals. I see absolutely no reason for why people would want to tear down the wall that separates religion and government, except to further their own religious agenda. It would be a giant waste of time to be bombarded by various religions on federal property all trying to force their agenda into government and advocate for converts. And ultimately whenever religion is inserted into government, discrimination and oppression ensues. Even if it is confined to each state, no amount of religious discrimination is acceptable. I reaffirm my argument that our government is and should remain separate from religion by law. The government will continue to protect religious liberty and punish those who perpetuate religious discrimination. We are a religiously diverse nation that will prosper most from everyone agreeing to keep church and state separate.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Bennett91 3 years ago
Bennett91
XionChanMailboxVegetableTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Very interesting debate using constitutional arguments. I didn't much care for the long quotes with little explanation though. When it got into the point about individual states being able to have their own religions Con's argument broke down. She seemed t endorse a form of state tyranny saying it was allowed under the 10th. But morally State tyranny is just as bad as Federal Tyranny. All in all Pro had a more varied reasoning as to why the sep of church and state is legit.