Dear Dr. Standley: (Separation of Church and State)
In your comments about Sen. John Kerry, are you saying that there should not be a separation of Church and State?
Rob Baltimore, MD
Thanks for the e-mail. Great question, but no, I didn't say that.
In the e-mail about Sen. Kerry, I was simply asked, "What do you think about Sen. John Kerry being refused communion by the Catholic church?" I practice what is called, "standing in the question." So I answered the question and stated what I think. Your question requires a much deeper explanation so here goes:
Now since you ask about a separation between Church and State; this is different than asking about a separation of Faith in God and State. As a side note - I do not believe there should be a separation of God and State, although Church and State I believe should be separate. I'll explain:
Church 'to me' is a religion, a denomination, a specific doctrine so to speak. Yes, I believe there should be a separation of Church and State so that no one religious doctrine rules our brain and way of Life.
I AM Catholic and even so, it is God who rules my brain and way of Life and not a Church. My Faith is first and foremost in God and not the Catholic church. I merely 'express' my Faith in God through the religion of Catholicism, which I absolutely Love. At the same time, I respect our "Declaration of Independence (DOI)" because it was indeed founded on the principle's of God. Note the name again, "Declaration of Independence." God also gave us a DOI, which is called, "Free Will." We were given the "Free Will" to believe in God or not, just as our "DOI" refers to about Church and State. He gave us the "Free Will" to Love Him or not. Now that's Independence!!! He thought of it first, not our founding fathers.
Our DOI clearly states in the first sentence, "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
The DOI makes reference to separation of 'political bands,' not bands connected to God because it plainly refers to, "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God . . ."
Again, founded on the principle's of God.
The DOI goes on to state, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Notice that Creator is with a capital "C." Who do you think our founding fathers were referring to with the word 'Creator'? Our DOI also states, "We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world . . . " When our founding fathers write 'Supreme Judge of the world,' (with a capital S and J) who do you think they were referring to? Of course, they were referring to God. They certainly aren't naming a person.
Again, founded on the principle's of God.
Article VI Section 3 of the "U.S. Constitution" states, " . . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." And that's great because again, we were given "Free Will" and we don't 'have to' believe anything we don't want to . . . but remember, our Constitution is still founded on the principle's of God and that statement says, "religious" meaning "religion." God is not a religion in my book. We express our Faith in God through the practice of a religion or rituals that we feel most comfortable.
So your e-mail is quite different from the previous e-mail about Sen. Kerry. I know this dialogue is not about whether or not Sen. Kerry believes in God, it's about him proclaiming one thing and flip flopping on it.
My beef with Sen. Kerry is that he flip flops with his spiritual belief system, which I believe is the most important of all belief systems. The Catholic Church believes in the sanctity and preservation of Life.
I think he should be a stronger man and stand in what he says he believes, IF in fact he realizes what the Holy Eucharist represents, symbolizes and 'IS.'
It's his "Free Will" that he's dealing with and he can use it as he pleases, even if it doesn't please me or anyone else.
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