A blog written by students in "Contemporary American Religion and Politics" at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. We welcome your constructive feedback! (And, of course, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Candler School of Theology or Emory University.)
Friday, December 3, 2010
The rules do not always apply sometimes morality does.
A common metaphor in American society is “separation of church and state”. This figurative point where the church is encouraged to stay out of the state's business and the state staying out of the church’s business. The idea of the “wall of separation between the church and the state was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. Jefferson desire in his letter was to communicate the idea that there is a wall in between the church and state to protect them . Moreover, the original use of the correlation was mainly to make sure that the state did not interfere with the church’s business, not to keep the church out of the state's business. The constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof “. The notion that prohibits Congress from making any law that hinders the free exercise of religion could be a line that needs to be cross at times when it comes to protecting the safety of the state and it’s citizens. The notion that prohibits Congress from making any law that hinders the free exercise of religion could be a line that needs to be cross at times when it comes to protecting the security of the state . The idea that the church should be governed by the national government on any matter is a tremendously dangerous proposition for the church. However, when exploitation and prostitution is happening within the boundaries of the United States region I think the government should intervene in some way. September 15, 2010 was a marvellous day for Americans, simply because Congress stood up to the power of the Internet and stopped exploitation and prostitution on craiglist.com. In the beginning of September, Craigslist told Congress in September that it had permanently terminated its Adult Services section in response to criticism that it was facilitating exploitation and prostitution. Clint Powell, Craigslist’s director of customer service and law enforcement initiatives, listed a number of actions the company had taken to weed out and prevent ads. They required people who took out Adult Services ads to provide a working telephone number and valid credit card information, he said. The company also manually screened all ads in Adult Services and reported abuses. Clint Powell, Craigslist’s director of customer service and law enforcement initiatives, listed a number of actions the company had taken to weed out and prevent ads. They required people who took out Adult Services ads to provide a working telephone number and valid credit card information, he said. The company also manually screened all ads in Adult Services and reported abuses. As for members of Congress, they made it clear they were satisfied that Craigslist shuttered its services, and wondered if there wasn’t a way to pass a law to criminalize running an online classifieds service, given that the present federal law protects online services from civil liability for what users posted online. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) who as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security presided over the meeting said “If there is no law on the books, is there any law we could put on the books that would pass constitutional muster,” Also,Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee claimed “as a progressive and a supporter of the First Amendment, she was in a philosophical confusion about sites like Craigslist that allow prostitution ads, adding, My opinion is, ‘Shut them down”. The Craiglist shut down was a brilliant measure by Congress by relatively protecting the citizens and moral integrity of the nation. However, should Congress step in when active members of the Christian church are being financially exploited and mentally prostituted? The “prosperity movement” of the Twenty-First century Christian community can be consider, like the spiritual Craiglist. I am not saying that the “prosperity movement” is a web site where you can sell and acquire goods but rather it is a movement that has promoted or allowed exploitation and prostitution of U.S. citizens similar to Craiglist. Pentecostal-Charismatic historian, Dr. Vinson Synan, offers and explanation of the “prosperity movement”. Synan said, “this “prosperity movement” an amazing phenomenon among Pentecostals and Charismatic is spreading around the world with the force and velocity of a raging wildfire in a dry forest. It is generally known as the prosperity gospel or the word of faith movement, and although many have not heard of it, the teaching is now an international force that is gaining millions of enthusiastic followers each year”. Dr.Vinson also declared that this movement is “Led by such popular evangelists as Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin, Jr., the teaching is inspiring some of the largest churches and evangelistic crusades in the history of modern Christianity”. The Charismatic evangelist spreads the massage of “If you will believe the Gospel, the Lord will immediately break the power of sin in your life and you could be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues, cast out devils and evangelize the world. You can be instantly set free from your addictions to alcohol, tobacco, sexual promiscuity, and drugs and Jesus will make you into a healthy and honest member of society. God is not against you. There is no virtue in being poor just for the sake of being poor. So God will also bless you materially as you work hard, live honestly, save your money and give a portion of your own income to others.” Also the prosperity preachers in order to raise their own monetary gain often times conveys to the congregation that if you pay more than your tithes to the church then you would get more blessing. This is a clear exploitation of the people of the church in order to support the materialist wants of the pastor. The problem that I have is that there is nobody to hold these “prosperity movement” pastors accountable. This is where I feel that lawmakers should find some way to make sure that religion is being practiced freely but it is not harming the citizens of the United States of America. Congress should act similar to Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who in 2007 held a Senatorial investigation of the prosperity televangelists, all Pentecostals or Charimatics. I am not suggest that Congress should be free to go on a “witch hunt” after preachers. I am suggesting that Congress should protect all of it’s citizens from the abuse of power by any individual, preacher or not. Moreover, I am convinced that the notion that prohibits Congress from making any law that hinders the free exercise of religion could be a line that needs to be cross at times when it comes to protecting the safety of the state and it’s citizens.
"Separation Of Church And State." Insert Name of Site in Italics. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2010 .