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God Vs Virtue Essay

1264 words - 6 pages

Our present-day notion of the separation of church and state is different than the Founders’ vision of the role of religion in our democratic republic, government, and public life. The conditions we live in today do not call for the stretching of the original meaning and it is not an improvement, it takes away our liberties and goes against the First Amendment. Even though many of our articles we were required to read this week say that religion is necessary for morality I respectfully disagree, you do not need to believe in a god to have morals you just need to be virtuous.
The Founding Fathers wanted to have a nation that was run on a religious base but they did not want to limit that ...view middle of the document...

The government wants to keep it separate but in turn is making it the reverse of what it should have been; they are trying to “protect” us from religion. The Founders thought to separate church and state not religion and politics. I do not think that the government should be trying to stretch the meaning of the first amendment, there is no need. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” (p 330, 2008) The Federal government was prohibited from establishing a single national denomination above all others and the free exercise clause meant the federal government could not interfere with the individual right and conscience to freedom of worship. They are trying to take religion out of public life whereas according to Matthew Spalding the “founders did favor government encouragement and support of religion in public laws, official speeches, and ceremonies, on public property and in public buildings, and even in public schools” (p 312, 2008.) Do I agree that we need to have religion to have morals? No, I do not. Herb Silverman quoted Abraham Lincoln in American Religion Undermines American Values, “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. This is my religion” (p 323, 2008.) I love this; because you do not need to go to church or believe in a god to have a good moral standing and I know many who do not and are better people than some “religious” persons I know. Just because you believe in god does not make you virtuous. In the same article he speaks of a time someone asked him if he ever thinks of murder, rape, or committing any other atrocities that he thought he could get away with just because he did not believe in god. This to me seems like this “Christian” has had these fleeting thoughts of harm and being bad because if you do not believe in god than you do not have to face your maker in the end. Silverstein replied with him hoping that the person continues to believe in god with an attitude like that because it seems to be what keeps him from committing those crimes. Benjamin Franklin had been quoted many times throughout the book so far and I agree with him when he says, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” He does not say only religious people, but virtuous; of high moral standards.


In the companion book Edward Rauchut points out that among those who framed the first amendment, “eight were Episcopalians, eight were Congregationalists, two Roman Catholics, one Methodist, two Quakers, one was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church and only one was a deist” (Companion Book, p 95, 2008.) This goes to show that we were built on a wide range of views and religions and that even though we believed in different...

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