Separating church and state

As religion and government lines blur, their division is more important than ever.

Cait Bunkers, Staff writer

In present-day America, religion has a tighter grip on the government than ever. This marginalizes anybody with different beliefs, may make people feel unsafe, and has gone too far.

The current administration is attempting to change the laws that currently keep church and state separate, which were written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers when America was founded. A large part of the bill of rights focused on religious freedom, which means that the government cannot enforce any specific religion on citizens.

President Donald Trump recently introduced proposals that would make it easier for religious groups to get federal money. However, since a lot of religions view LGBTQ+ people negatively, people are concerned that this could make religious groups more able to form programs that discriminate against or exclude LGBTQ+ people. 

In addition, last October, Florida lawmakers introduced a bill that would require every public school to offer bible courses. If these involved prayer, they would be illegal because federal law bans prayer from school.

Some people argue that prayer in school does not establish a religion, rather, prayer is required for students’ moral development. However, while prayer in school may not be establishing a religion, unless prayers for every existing religion are offered, one religion is being favored over others. This leads to exclusion of certain religions. Also, many Americans are atheist, and the idea of prayer is offensive.

Additionally, favoring one religion in schools over others will alienate students belonging to minority religions or those who are not religious. This will discourage many students from participating in school activities, which is another large issue as schools try to encourage participation in extracurriculars.

A story published in the Scientific American found that 23% of Americans are not religious. Specifically, 34% of millennials say they are not religious – and that trend is growing.

It is not a school’s place to develop the moral character of students. That is their parent’s job.

Also, taxpayer dollars pay for secular education, not religious education. People should not be required to fund religious education, no matter what their beliefs are.

These new laws, if put in place, will favor Americans who belong to specific religions. This is wrong, because America is supposed to be equal for all people. 

The people of America need to stand up against these laws and this administration. Also, if schools try to enforce prayer, people must fight it in order to keep America a country for people of all religions.