The Importance of Separation of Church and State

I am going to do a few pieces on libertarian versus conservative thought. This is not a bonafide series, but I do want to cover some of the key issues that separate conservatives and libertarians philosophically, and explain why I embrace the libertarian viewpoint over the conservative one. One of these issues I run into the most is the idea of separation of church and state.

Most conservative thinkers agree that government should stay out of religion, but are often less concerned about the other way around. You Constitutionalists out there will likely point out that the term “separation of church and state” is not in the constitution, but in a letter between Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Association. Indeed, a true separation is not possible, not if you include all belief systems in the umbrella of “church”, which I think was the intent. It is impossible because being without religion is, in effect, its own belief system with its own standards of conduct. All people on earth operate with some sort of belief/thought/moral system, so it cannot be removed. Furthermore, removal of the right to have certain beliefs or practice certain beliefs simply because one is an elected official is a violation of the First Amendment, and more importantly, the individual rights of persons in government. [Read more…]