Since the earliest time of America, the issue of separation between state and church has been the subject of the hottest legal, moral, and ethical debate. Given the impact which religion produces on hearts and minds of the American people and the Christian roots of all major laws and initiatives in the United States, it is understandable that the country has been persistently trying to find the most relevant balance between the concepts of religion and the concept of government.
Now, as so many years have passed since the Declaration of Independence was made public, we still argue on whether it was designed to create a wall of separation between church and state or whether it had to establish a new religious society in America. Nevertheless, the current constitutional separation of church and state in the U. S.is the example of how the state can effectively expand the range of individual freedoms and provide religious adherents with the right to openly express their views without facing the risks of intolerance or abuse. The history of separation between church and state dates back to the times of Ancient Greece, when Socrates was condemned for not believing in the gods of the state and teaching the young different knowledge about different gods (Pomeroy & Burstein 323).
This accusation was increasingly unusual and unexpected for Athens: Ancient Greece did not have any constitutional principles that would separate church and state; nor did it have any principles that would protect free speech and individual freedoms (Pomeroy & Burstein 324). That is why the U. S. Constitution can be fairly regarded as one of the brightest historical attempts to resolve the issue of separation between church and state at the national level.
In the history of America, it was due to Thomas Jefferson that the issue of church and state separation has acquired official legal meaning. Under the impact of Enlightenment trends, and being indifferent to religion, Thomas Jefferson established official wall of separation between church and state – the wall that was supported by numerous court decisions and which currently determines the relationship between freedom of religious expression and other individual rights (Johnson & Yost 33).
The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Johnson & Yost 12), and although the issue of separation is surrounded by numerous myths and controversies I personally believe that church and state should be separated. The fact is that by separating church and state we promote freedom of religious expression.
This freedom guarantees that any religious minority is able to express its religious beliefs without being subject to religious or legal intolerance or abuse. The separation of church and state is the basis for eliminating any type of religious influence in state or national decision-making processes. It is the basis for avoiding religious influence on legal decisions. This separation, however, does not prevent individuals from making religion an essential element of their daily lives.
Furthermore, this wall of separation promotes freedom of public education. Religion should not be used as a factor of influence in public schools. Children and their parents should be free to choose religious beliefs and systems to which they adhere, without being imposed a set of predetermined religious principles by the state. Conclusion Although religion is one of the dominant factors that govern our daily choices, the U. S. actively works to promote and protect the principles of separation between church and state.
Given the benefits of this separation and the democratic ideals to which American citizens choose to keep, this separation is likely to remain one of the central democratic and legal components in contemporary America. Works Cited Johnson, A. W. & Yost, F. H. Separation of Church and State in the United States. University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Pomeroy, S. B. & Burstein, S. M. Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Oxford University