Monday, February 20, 2012

The Dynamic Tension of the First Amendment

The separation of church and state as provided for in the First Amendment keeps us united in freedom. It is clear that James Madison and those of our founders who voted for its ratification sought to create a secular democratic republic and not a religious one based upon Christian theology. However, their intention must not be misinterpreted to mean that they were attempting to divorce religion from our political process.


Rather, what they sought was a guaranteed protection from the hegemony that results when one group or way of thinking gains too much power. If we thought about it we would realize that there are always those people, religious and non-religious, who would love nothing better than to prevent others from living as they see fit or from even thinking or speaking as their conscience dictates. Separation of church and state simultaneously creates and enforces a dynamic tension between all divergent points of view assuring each one their right to have their voice heard. This is a precious freedom that I fear most of us take for granted.

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