[US Institutions] Separation of Church and StatePosted: December 19, 2010
Not treating specifically of the US government institution anymore, but still discussing some key and/or puzzling aspect of the way the US institutions goes everyday.
As such, there is no constitutional separation of Church and State in the US, the First amendment states that «Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof» which is more a statement of freedom of religion than a strict separation.Indeed, many early immigrant to America were fleeing Europe were restriction were enforced on the exercise of religion.
The idea of a separation was clearly stated by T Jerfferson in the early 1800s. And the article 6 of the Constitution ban any religious criteria to qualify for office in a US institution. The supreme court as a jurisprudence establishing a separation of Church and State in the facts.
However, to a European eye, some aspect of the US politic life can be disturbing:
- The dollar coins and bills all hold the writing : «In God We Trust»
- Political leaders usually close their speech by «God Bless the United Stats of America”
- The Pledge of Allegience (a topic in itself) contains an explicit reference to «God»
- The President, Vice-President, Justices, Senators, Representatives, … are sworn in a hand on a Bible and ends the oat of office by “so help me God”
- It is not unusual for politics, journalists, … to express religious opinion (in particular among conservatives) – Some will even go to state that the “founding fathers clearly intending the USA to be a christian nation” (paraphrasing)
A lot of people marveled in 2008 when B Obama was elected that Americans were ready to elect a black president. But it will be much more unlikely that a non religious president might be elected.