State Religion

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Under Article 37, the Constitution of Liechtenstein establishes Catholicism as the state religion

Please note I do not believe in forced conversions or penalizing people for not being members of the state religion. I don’t want to get angry letters falsely accusing me of being for forced conversions.

A poll was recently done that alleges 57% of Republicans advocating the legal status of Christianity as the state religion.  The article fallaciously calls 57% a majority when it narrowly meets the 50-50 line and I have to ask what kind of questions were asked seeing that many people have been falsely accused of being theocrats when they simply state that things such as abortion and euthanasia are illegal and that same-sex unions should not be legally recognized as marriages.  So what about those against stealing, false oaths in court and homicide?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/polltracker/poll-57-percent-republicans-christianity-national-religion

While I’m not too eager for the U.S. to make Christianity the state religion on paper, it can be done without infringing upon the right of others to worship as they please. Other countries have achieved this ability: e.g. Liechtenstein, Andorra and several Swiss cantons for example constitutionally have Catholicism as their state religion but also legally grant freedom of religion to citizens.  Other countries include Monaco, Costa Rica, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama which either label Catholicism the state religion or define it as being protected by the government and/or the religion of the majority.

I do support such measures.  I support defending the Church — her property and institutions — from any hostility or from abandonment and that the Catholic culture and ethics must be protected and encouraged culturally.  The Church needs that now perhaps more than ever.  However I do not defend any abuses and by that I mean threatening non-Catholics into converting, using their tax dollars to go to the Church.  I’m not saying a parliamentary system should not exist but rather it should exist as if there ever was a monarch, president or other kind of national leader who overstepped his/her boundaries and became very abusive, the parliament or congress could remove him/her from office; they could also vote on how to effectively deal with moral issues so long as it is in harmony with Catholic social doctrine as expressed in Church documents like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Evangelium Vitae and Dignitatis Humanae and have the goal of upholding it.

There are good reasons for having a state religion.  We wouldn’t keep flip flopping on moral issues through voting: votes do not always constitute for justice. It obviously shouldn’t in regards to abortion and it wasn’t either in regards to voting Hitler into office.  When there is a state religion there is a clear understanding on where ethical views come from and from what source we look for guidance regarding moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, same-sex unions, cohabitation, jihad and Sharia law to name a few.  I understand many do not believe in this and I do not expect for a multi-religious nation to institute a state established/protected religion and I believe at least predominantly Christian countries should establish/defend Christianity, especially Catholicism.  Somebody I know said the following.

“Funny how the Supreme Court did not rule in favor of separation of church and state on a state level until the mid 20th century with the Everson v Board of Education case in 1947. The North Carolina Constitution for example (1776) stated that public officials must be Protestant. The South Carolina Constitution (1778) on the other hand said all believers in God — Protestants, Catholics and Jews — were tolerated though the state religion was Protestantism. Such state constitutions remained in effect for a very long time. The current North Carolina Constitution (Article VI, Section 8) forbids from holding public office ‘any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God’.”

While this is based on interpretation, people of this time did not view such a law as infringing upon the 1st Amendment and the Founding Fathers did not send any grievances over the issue.  As earlier mentioned, the separation of church and state as we know it today was not brought about until the 20th century starting allegedly with the Everson v. Board of Education decision which was influenced by Hugo Black’s secularist opinions as Black was a Klansman and avid anti-Catholic who feared a Catholic takeover of the United States.

To be technical, however, the Everson v. Board of Education ruling forbade prayers in school, not the establishment of Christianity as the state religion or at leasted protected by the state. It could be said that traditionally the establishment clause traditionally referred to forbidding the federal government from declaring a law in respects to “an establishment of religion” as it mentions Congress by name whereas individual states could get away with establishing a state religion as seen in the example of the North and South Carolina Constitutions as the federal government understood the religious diversity of the United States: e.g. large Puritan population in Massachussetts, large Episcopal population in Georgia, large Catholic population in Maryland, large Dutch Reformed population in New York, that is so long as “the free exercise thereof” was not violated as seen in the acknowledgement of the North and South Carolina Constitutions in the freedom of religion.  Technically America could get away with declaring Christianity (no specific kind) a state religion seeing that about 80% of Americans identify as Christians; at least individual states could do that. Would this violate the 1st Amendment? Maybe, maybe not. If yes, Congress does have the power to ratify a new amendment to the Constitution if two thirds of the states vote in favor thereof; it would not be the first time either as the 21st Amendment undid the 18th Amendment which forbade the selling, exportation and importation of alcohol, and the 13th Amendment overturned Article IV, Section 2 which mandated that an escaped slave must be returned to the state of “service or labor” by banning slavery except in cases of punishment for a crime.  However the difficulty is the opposition from nominal Christians, or Christians in name only, who not only oppose a predominantly Christian country establishing Christianity as the state religion or at least the culturally favored religion, but also aggressively advocate abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex unions and other sinful deeds and lifestyles.

Z8

Bl. Pius IX

Pius IX warned about separation of church and state in his Syllabus of Errors when he said such a modernist statement must be condemned: “The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church” (no. 55).  The brilliant Catholic thinker G.K. Chesterton warned about the state abolishing God from its motivation and source by saying, “Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God” (Christendom in Dublin).  The controversial Dignitatis Humanae stated, “Religious freedom, . . . leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ” (no. 1) and in certain countries “special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional order of society” (no. 6).  In light of Catholic dogma, countries can and should establish Christianity, specifically Catholicism, as the state religion if possible.

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