In spirit of the season, I would like to offer my warm greetings into the New Year, and a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. For those who just recently celebrated Hanukkah, such as myself, have a great, relaxing day tomorrow! For those celebrating any other holidays, enjoy the festivities and welcome into the New Year.
This brings up a question, is this ‘War on Christmas’ that Bill O’Reilly describes something of substance and truthfulness? Or is there a clear definition between the line of Church and State?
As a Jewish person, my perceptive on this subject is interesting. The establishment clause of the Constitution simply regards that the Government may not establish a national religion, thus it is called the Establishment clause. This does not explicitly describe ‘Separation of Church and State’ though, and the Government is known have been influenced by religion. ‘Separation of Church and State’ is a made-up term; This term has no bearing in society today.
Personally, when people tell say to me, “Merry Christmas,” my first though is that this individual is attempting to be kind to me by wishing my a Merry Christmas. Advocates of saying “Happy Holidays” argue that “Merry Christmas” is an attempt to pursue Christianity onto society, which is the entire basis of their argument.
This brings up other questions about other governmental institutions, notably education. Opponents of school voucher programs state that they oppose vouchers because the Government would be providing funding for a school, often times a Catholic, Jewish, or Quaker school. My counter-argument follows the literal meaning of the program- I say that voucher money goes to the student, and the student and his family decide the school they wish to attend. Also included in this is the Pledge of Allegiance, performed every morning at many schools, including my own (I attend a public school).
The Pledge includes a notably questionable phrase, “One Nation, Under God…” Are children obliged to say “Under God?” What if this child is an atheist? Opponents to this section of the Pledge state the argument of ‘Separation of Church and State.’ I state that the Government was built on religious influences, such as the 10 Commandments, English Common Law (Which was based on Religious precedent), and Christian structures.
This argument of ‘Separation of Church and State’ is false. There is no separation, as we have based on Laws, our Pledges, and even our currency on religious influences. What we have in American society is a reverse; In America, Government does not influence religion. Religion influences the Government. One could argue that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence are absolutely Christian documents, and there is some basis to this argument.
I affirm my argument that religion influences Government, and the Government does not influence religion with simple fact. A student may have an excused, lawful absence at a public school for claiming any religious holiday. A student may claim that they believe in Seinfeld’s Festivus, and therefore, they need to skip school. And the school cannot lawfully reject this student’s claim of religion, as the student may genuinely believe in this holiday, and the school cannot tell them no.
As ridiculous as this sounds, if a school were to say no to the student, the student could bring them to the Supreme Court, and the court would say that the school cannot deny a student of his religion. This is like a Jewish student being allowed to miss school for Yom Kippur, and a Muslim student being allowed to miss class to pray during the day. If the school said no, this would be the equivalent of a school telling a Jewish student that they cannot miss school because of Yom Kippur.
But how does religion impact Government? Not only was our Government founded under religious philosophy and religious principles, our laws and documents are based on religion. Our currency and our Pledge have clear religious influences, and this is a simple reflection of monotheistic religion’s influence on Government.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.