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Always separate

December 30, 2012
Liz Peppin Marquette , The Mining Journal

To the Journal editor:

Every day since the unspeakable atrocity in Connecticut, I've heard people from all walks of life attributing the escalating phenomenon of American violence to the removal of God from our schools.

The phrasing differs from person to person, but the core sentiment is the same. The claim suffers from both ambiguity and falsity, and I'd like to address these issues.

First, the problem of ambiguity: Whom does the speaker mean? One must be specific. Does this mean we should put Allah into schools? I suspect most of you will vehemently disagree. Then shall it be Jehovah? Krishna? Zeus? Thor? If one means the Christian God, does one mean the God of the Catholics? The Lutherans? The Baptists? The Mormons? There are as many different Christian Gods as there are Christian sects, and this is a triple-digit figure.

Secondly, the problem of falsity: God was never 'in schools' to begin with, and every attempt to put him there is unconstitutional. The sole reason for the marvelous religious diversity in the United States is that the country was founded as a secular nation, with expressly worded prohibitions against any flirtation between church and state.

If you are under the impression that this is untrue, please refer to the First Amendment of the Constitution; specifically, the Establishment Clause. To put it simply, freedom of religion requires freedom from religion; the one cannot survive without the other.

Church and state must remain separated for freedom of religion to exist. Review the history of any theocracy to understand why this is imperative.

The solution to American violence will be complex and difficult. But putting God into schools is emphatically not a part of that solution.



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