Topic: Argumentative Essay- Separation of Church and State involving the public
Description: Here are my instructions from my professor:
My thesis: Religious activity should not be viewed in the public eye.
The thesis of an argumentative essay must have other valid viewpoints on the subject. In the body of the essay, you will need several paragraphs supporting your viewpoint. You will also need a COUNTERARGUMENT paragraph in which you acknowledge the most plausible opposing view, explain it, and overcome it.
Religious activity should not be viewed in the public eye. This has been a subject of a lot of controversy nowadays, and people may be having different views about this.
Several theorists such as Martin Luther King, William Penn and John Locke felt that the religious and political issues have to be separated in order to permit tolerance to all sects of the population (Herwitt, J., 2006). Since history, it may be very difficult to separate religion from politics. This may because religion is the oldest form of law.
However, it has been seen that rulers or Governments that follow one religious ideology tend to forbid other religions. Since all religions lead to the same God, all spiritual sects should be considered equal and should be given independence. Hence, it would be better to politically keep religious issues out of the spotlight. If religion and politics are mixed, people may find it difficult to experience freedom in practicing the religion of their choice (Herwitt, J., 2006). It has been observed that due to disagreements and difference of ideas between various religions, disharmony and violence have erupted. Political systems that due not promote secularism by being associated with a particular religion, are at a higher risk of causing such situations in the public (Herwitt, J., 2006).
Jesus himself was against the idea of use of the Temple in the New Testament for trade purposes. In the Gospel of John, Jesus enters the Temple in Jerusalem and finds that the Temple courtyard was being utilized to sell livestock and perform trade. Jesus was angry with this incident and he made a whip, chased the livestock, turned all the tables and released the doves. In the Book of Isaiah Jesus says “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7), and in the Book of Jeremiah, he says “But you have made it a den of thieves” (Jeremiah 7:11). Jesus called the market place ‘den of thieves’, because he considered them to be selling their produce at a very high cost which could not be afforded by the poor. Doves were often used to be sacrificed by the poor whilst praying to God. He felt that the market noise may not permit people to pray to God.
It is better to keep religious activities and statements within the religious circle itself and not create undue publicity. Religious statements and activities are being misinterpreted by other religions or sects, creating undue tensions and ill-feelings. Scientists often try to prove that certain religious rituals cannot be scientifically justified. Often the words of several religious leaders are being misinterpreted by politicians and other religious leaders. Hence, it would always be better to avoid publicity of the religious activities in order to prevent trouble. It has also been seen that the critics from the public are greater once publicity is increased.
Many people especially the Baptist followers, feel that separation of the ideas of religion does not necessarily imply that the state is not following the intentions of God. The minorities especially consider that the state should not follow a particular religion as they may be persecuted. A classical example of this is the prosecution of the Anabaptist movement by the Catholics and the Protestants. Other religions of the World feel that the Government should rule with ethics, values and morals, rather than with religious principles.
Governments that do not follow a particular religion are unbiased. Many States tend to follow codes based on a particular religion. For example, certain Islamic and Jewish states follow their Holy Books that support capital punishment. In the Quran (the Holy Book of the Muslims) it is stated if one man takes the life of another in order to spread trouble, then the act should be considered as an attack against entire humanity, and the life of such an individual should be put to end (About Islam. 2006). On the other hand the Jews consider the Old Testament’s version to deliver justice against murder. They have developed separate codes to deal with capital punishment against Jews and against Non-Jews. Often Non-Jews convicted for death, have to face Noah’s rules, which are stricter against criminals (FAQ. 2006). Hence there are high chances that minority religions may be discriminated.
However, some people consider that religion should be more involved with the State. The state may be associated with a religion to varying extents or degrees. Some states may adopt a particular religion and prohibit others, whereas some may only endorse the principles of the religion being the majority in that country. Some countries following a state religion may also adopt rules that guarantee freedom of other religions. Many States including the US have adopted their laws based on religious texts and practices of the Christians and the Jews. The Bible has been used as a source to develop civil code in several countries. Before a witness testifies in a Court of Justice, he has to place his hand on the religious book and take the name of God. Other religions in the world have has helped to develop rules and to separate the good from the bad (Herwitt, J. 2006).
However, it would also be better if a political system follows general morals, values and ethics, rather than a particular religious code. It has been demonstrated that states that follow a particular religion tend to be biased with other belief systems. They also develop special rules that are often discriminating against followers of other religions. The teaching of Jesus suggests that it would be better to keep non-religious issues such as business out because the Temple of God as it is a holy place. If religion and politics are related closely, as since through many civilizations, there are chances that small groups of people belonging to minority communities may always be persecuted due to the discriminatory rules adopted by the state against them.
About Islam “Capital Punishment in Islam.” About Religion and Spirituality. 2006. About Website Online. 28 Dec. 2006. http://islam.about.com/cs/law/a/c_punishment.htm
Backous, Timothy, and Graham, William C. Common Good, Uncommon Questions: A Primer in Moral Theology. Minnesota: A Michael Glazier Book, 1997.
FAQ. “Question 12.21: What is the Jewish position on Capital Punishment?” FAQ.org 2006. 28 Dec. 2006. http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/06-Jewish-Thought/section-22.htmlHerwitt, J. “Separating Religion from Politics.” Associated Content. 2006. AC Website. 28 Dec. 2006. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/85682/separating_religion_from_politics.html
Herwitt, J. “Separating Religion from Politics.” Associated Content. 2006. AC Website. 28 Dec. 2006. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/85682/separating_religion_from_politics.html
Kane, John J. “American Sociological Review.” JSTOR, 16(5) (1951): 663-672. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-1224%28195110%2916%3A5%3C663%3APT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0&size=LARGE
Schmidt, Leigh Eric. “Christianity in the Marketplace: Christmas and the Consumer Culture.” Cross Currents, 42(3) (1992): 342. http://www.crosscurrents.org/schmidt.htm
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