Government and religion don’t mix

Cnnetwork and Cnnetwork

Judeo-Christian values have affected America’s foundation; a large percentage of the American population has adopted a belief in God.

Yet, the concepts of religious freedom and the separation of church and state remain hotly contested issues.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison, Wis., ruled April 15 that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional, given the fact that it explicitly calls for engagement in some type of religious activity.

President Barack Obama said he planned to appeal the decision through the Justice Department.

The issue here isn’t someone taking a position fundamentally against religion, but that the church should remain separate from the state in America. The district court was justified in its decision that a national holiday advocating religious activity was unlawful.

Those who say such a concept is absent within the Constitution need only look to the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Conservatives who are advocates of the National Day of Prayer should abandon such a hypocritical stance. Despite calling for limited government in certain aspects, religion is the one thing in which they continue to support government involvement.

Having a National Day of Prayer only makes people who aren’t believers feel like outsiders; any time the government takes a position on a religious issue should be cause for alarm.

When the government begins to promote one particular religion, however, it only opens the door further to the slippery slope of legislating morality.

Excessive government influence on religion and excessive religious influence on politics only results in discrimination against dissenters.

The best way to convince others of any religious value, belief or system is not through declarations on a national level, but through individual persuasion. The federal government should not play a role on either side.

By Patrick Levy, The Daily Cougar (University of Houston)The College News Network