Archive for ‘August, 2011’

When Church and State Entangle

datePosted on 19:14, August 9th, 2011 by Kosmic Kurt

When government becomes entangled with religion, disaster is the only result. This simple fact has been demonstrated time and time again. There are no winners – only losers. Recently I have been directly involved in a church and state abuse in my own community. Today is voting day for the recall elections in Wisconsin. I will not be one of those voting as I was forced to vote earlier by absentee ballot. The abuse I had to endure during my last voting experience precludes me from voting at my designated polling station. As I wrote about in an earlier post, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Village of Brown Deer put a Christian cross on the wall in the voting room between portraits of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. I complained to the Village Manager who did respond very cordially and promised to correct the problem. I was happy and satisfied. Well, at our most recent public election, not only was the cross still there but I now had the displeasure of looking at a “Happy Jesus Face” as well. This time I complained on the spot and was belittled and rebuffed in front of my neighbors by the president of the church. He emphatically declared that he would not remove anything and that no one could make him do otherwise. The entire experience was very unsettling to me and caused me a great deal of discomfort. So began the emails from me to the village board and the village attorney. I reached out to FFRF, AU and the ACLU for help as well. To date, only FFRF has written a letter on my behalf. The emails I have sent have been met with mixed responses; some cordial, some not so cordial. Nothing has been done to move the election site yet, but I am told that options are being considered. So I voted by absentee ballot and vowed not to enter St. Paul’s again. The hardest part of my ordeal is explaining to people why church and state should be kept separate. So many people just don’t get it. So many foolish people really think that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation. To those misguided individuals I offer the following:

The United States was founded by people who left England because they did NOT want to be told that they had to belong to the Church of England. The Church of England had long since severed ties with the Roman Catholic Church and had created its own brand of Christianity. Our founding fathers wanted to make sure that people could choose which, if any, god to pray to. Thomas Jefferson put it best when he wrote,

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

Thomas Jefferson

Jan. 1. 1802

People who are ignorant in the matter of Jefferson’s Wall really need to stop preaching their nonsense and start thinking. The whole point of the First Amendment is to protect the rights of all citizens. It protects churches from being told what to do by the government. It protects individuals from being told which church they have to belong to. It states categorically that the government will not endorse one religion over another. By keeping church and state separate everyone one wins.

Below are pictures of the debacle at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church where voting for my district takes place. If anyone would like to contact the Village of Brown Deer the website is listed below. I would ask that if you do contact the village or any officials please be courteous and polite. I am engaged in dialog with the village and this my community where my family and I reside. Rather than spewing negative rhetoric, I am working hard to crate a positive change that will benefit everyone.

Village of Brown Deer