October 31, 2012
In Gertrude “Trudi” Meyers’ Oct. 6 letter, “First Amendment essential,” she was critical of some of the religious right’s view about the separation of church and state. She did a good job in pointing out all the reasons that the separation of church and state are good for democracy. In fact, a country can’t be run by any religion. Just look at the mess of the Islamic regime in Iran. There are no human rights, freedom of speech, religion and press. People live in fear and in very poor conditions.
Believe it or not, the concept of the separation of church and state came from Jesus Christ. Just read the Gospel (Matthew 22:15-21). When Jesus was facing the question by Pharisees’ disciples “... Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not? Knowing their malice, Jesus said, ‘Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.’ ”
Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” In this Gospel, Jesus clearly pointed out the principle of the separation of church and state.
Here I may add that the separation of church and state, the separation of powers are important American government principles. As I know, no political document has so much political wisdom and sophisticated systems to deal with the government power which corrupts people.
No question, those framers had the advanced knowledge and practical experience about government power and the weakness of human nature. So they put down the three-branch government system: executive, legislative and judicial. Each branch is an independent unit and has the specific power to check and balance one another to make sure no one branch can dictate the other to change of the democratic republic into a dictatorial regime.
Unfortunately, our democracy is facing many serious problems because (1) some politicians in the congressional oversight let their politics stand in the way to do a good job for the American people. Many bad things (abuse, waste and corruption) happened because the failure of oversight. And (2) some established media are not trying to live up to their standards against the forces weakening journalism and they choose to be in the wagon with the powerful politicians and become their spinning machine.
It is a sad situation today.
retired state employee