Separation of Church and State is a very imperative and principle part of our political, legal, and historical heritage. A “wall of separation” between Church and State was established in the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. This amendment guarantees religious freedom for all. Church and State, should, unquestionably, remain as two separate institutions that are in no way intertwined with the other.
As early as the reign of Constantine, the Emperor of the Roman Empire, the issue of Church and State was very prevalent. However, during this time, as well as previously, Church and State were connected. The emperors before Constantine were pagans and made paganism the official religion of the Roman Empire. However, Constantine prayed to the Christian God for help in a battle and ended up winning. As a result of this life-altering event, or change of heart, Constantine became the first Christian Emperor and allowed Christians to practice freely in his Empire through the Edict of Milan in 313 C. E.
This precedent angered and astonished many people; however the Christians could now worship freely without having to worry about persecution. Throughout Constantine’s rule, he became involved in church matters and tried to run the church. This is because he, just like those before him, saw religion as a way of unifying all of the people under his rule. Constantine, through his reign as Emperor, had one of the biggest effects ever on Christianity.
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Christianity was once powerless and poor, but at that time it became amalgamated with the biggest force known to man. As head of the Empire, Constantine was admired and looked up to by many. His role as ruler, more than likely, opened people’s eyes to a religion that was once illegal and frowned upon by past emperors. As a result of the influence of Constantine, Christianity became more accepted and practiced.
Although connecting Church and State proved to be a tremendous political maneuver for the growth and proliferation of Christianity, the Church and State should stay separated. One of the main reasons for this argument is that it will attract some power hungry people to the religious profession. Also, it could cause priests that were already in the vocation to become corrupt. A priest’s number one concern should be spreading the Word of God to those around him; However, he should not have to worry about what his views on a current presidential candidate, for example, should be. Church and State should also not be connected because not all people share our belief in God or the beliefs in the basic tenets of Catholicism. This would be very unfair for those people because if these two were united, then everything going on in this country would, in some way, deal with the beliefs upheld by the Church.
Also, if they were united, it would cause disunity through out our country because many people would feel aloof and separated from the country. My personal political views are affected by my religious views. This is because I believe that it is necessary for those who run the government to share the same views as myself. Many of these views, however, are ones that are commonly up for debate by religious and political leaders. One of these views that are highly controversial is the issue of whether those at public schools should have to say prayers during the school day.
Prayers should not be said at public schools. Although, in the perfect world, it would be great if everyone could pray together at a public institution, it would be considered unconstitutional if this did occur. It would also be very biased if prayers were said in public schools because not all people that follow a religion say the same prayers as we do. Church and State is a very complex and controversial topic. During the times of Emperor Constantine, the two institutions were connected, which proved to be a very great tactic for the growth of the Church. However, Church and State, as declared in the Constitution should stay separated..
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