The Instigator
elphaba1389
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
mors202
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points

The values of the constitution are being implied only when it is convenient for society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,200 times Debate No: 3795
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (12)

 

elphaba1389

Pro

"Seperation of Church & State" as outlined in the Constitution, means that religion and the law will not conflict. So long as religion does not break any laws or harms others. It is meant to be constantly enforced; however, it is only implied when it is convenient for society. An example if this is the case of Roy Moore and his attempt to keep the 10 commandments monument in the courthouse.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." While the United States has not made a law commanding that all her citizens be a certain religion, I believe that it is slowly going in that direction. One campaign slogan you hear repeatedly in elections is "good christian values." And seeing as how 85% of the nation is Christian, that does appeal to the nation as a whole. However, the problem that I have with this is when the government (whether national, state, or federal) impliments laws based solely on religion. An example of this would be homosexual marriage; many states have made it illegal because marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman by the constitution, which was established on the basis of the Bible.

This is when seperation of church and state is not honored, because homosexual marriages are illegal according to state because it is wrong in the Bible; however, Roy Moore was removed from office because he refused to have the 10 commandments removed, on the basis that it violates "seperation of church and state."

If "seperation of church and state" is written in the constitution, then it should be honored all the time. Not just when it is convenient for the country.
mors202

Con

Thanks to my opponent for giving me the opportunity to debate this topic.

First of all, I take issue with my opponent describing the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to mean that "means that religion and the law will not conflict". This is not true. For example, Justice Souter described the Clause as saying "government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion" (Board of Ed. of Kiryas Joel v. Grumet http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...). This interpretation has generally been the one that has been accepted, both before and after Joel v. Grumet. Thus, the clause deals with the government trying establish a national religion, or discourage some religious groups from practicing in the country.

My opponent, on the other hand, sought to portray the Establishment Clause as prohibiting laws that happen to coincide with religious beliefs, such as her example of homosexual marriage. First off, these laws do not outlaw homosexual marriage, but rather codify marriage as being between a man and a woman. Besides, how does such an action qualify as a government giving preference to a religion? Is it because these actions are supported by religious groups? If this is your reasoning, elphaba, you are thus describing all laws supported by religious groups as being in violation of the Establishment Clause, and are restricting the voice of religious people, ipso facto, in the government. In short, you are taking away their Constitutional right of self-determination and participation.

In sum, laws that do not give preference, or non-preference, to a religion do not fall under the aegis of the Establishment Clause.

This ties into my second issue with my opponent, that the Establishment Clause is enforced only when convenient for society. I have already shown that homosexual marriage does not fall under the aegis of the Establishment Clause, and that my opponent's argument is moot. In a country in which all branches of government go out of the way to be "inclusive" of all religions, I find it amazing the my opponent makes the claim that our country is heading down the road to a theocracy. My opponent seems to base this fact on the ballot initiatives that codified marriage as between a man and a woman. However, she seems to conveniently ignore many court cases that have found against what she would deem "religious laws". These cases include Lawrence v. Texas and Griswold v. Connecticut. My opponent also ignores the many non-denominational prayer breakfasts in Congress, and the the President's many meetings with members of Islam and Christianity and people of every other religious stripe. These rulings and actions by our government as being inconsistent. Quite the opposite, they show a government that is constantly seeking to make all people, regardless of religious stripe, feel included.
Debate Round No. 1
elphaba1389

Pro

elphaba1389 forfeited this round.
mors202

Con

All my arguments still stand: the Establishment Clause is meant to prevent the installation of a theocracy and my opponent is ignoring many actions that show that the society today is very conscientious of religious tolerance and the separation of church and state.
Debate Round No. 2
elphaba1389

Pro

sorry about the last round mors202, I had a thesis paper due Wednesday and have been working on that constantly. Sorry again. =(

Considering this is my final arguement, I will say that I see where my opponent is coming from in his arguement. I will however, say that while his points are valid, the clause doesn't always hold true.
mors202

Con

I understand completely about the paper elphaba, don't worry about it.

By "clause" do you mean the Establishment Clause? Because you have not refuted my point that, today, our society is very conscientious about the separation of church and state. By saying that the clause "doesn't always hold true", you are making a statement with no supporting facts.

I would like to close by saying that, while it is true that we must prevent the rise of a theocracy, to say that America today is on the road to a theocracy is ignoring many obvious facts about current American life. We are a very, if not the most, religiously diverse nation in the world, and practically no American, except for a few religious extremists, would advocate a theocracy based on their religious precepts. Thus, I can say, as a Christian, that I am blessed to live in a country that allows religious freedom.

Thank you for the debate, elphaba.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 3 years ago
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Vote Placed by kc0wys 8 years ago
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