There has been much debate on whether or not the United States has been doing the right thing by keeping church and state as separate entities rather than keeping them entwined as had been the standard for centuries prior to the country’s founding. The list of influences this law could affect is substantial, ranging from the workplace to school functions. Even the way people decorate their offices and houses has come into question from time to time. However, remarkably, every person has a different style of argument and a different way of looking at the available facts. I intend to compare two very different argument styles on both sides of this issue, and how two capable writers use completely different methods of research, facts, and interpretations to propose their opinions.
Should Church and State be Separate?
Alan Wolfe (2002) speaks about many of the implied hypocrisies during the centuries-long debate over separation of church and state. While most people are brought up to question hypocrisy, Wolfe claims that some level of it is necessary to allow for compassion from the audience. “Surely we should want our anti-clericalists to have a touch of belief about them, especially when compared to the truly cynical.” Wolfe (¶ 14, 2002).
In his book, Separation of Church and State, Philip Hamburger called many of the politicians “…opportunistic” however; their type of behavior is often seen throughout our society today. In his article, “Church and State Should be Separate,” Wolfe (2002) uses lawyers as an example;
The history of American jurisprudence is filled with examples of lawyers seeking to build the strongest possible cases for their clients or causes, dropping one argument and employing another if it promises a greater chance of success, even if it seems to contradict the first. (¶ 13).
Throughout his argument, Wolfe also cites the court case, “Everson vs. Board of Education,” which placed separation of church and state into constitutional law in 1947. Prior to this case, the set of rules and ethics, God’s or Man’s, that should guide us, the citizens, had been debated but never determined.
On the other side of the spectrum stands Steve Bonta. Bonta contends that separation of church and state is a historical mistake waiting to happen. He uses examples from the French Revolution, in which they attempted the same ideal--giving the power to the people--and it failed them miserably. Bonta uses quotes from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to support his claim that we were each given “inalienable rights” from God, not from humanity, and therefore God should rule over the nation.
Alan Wolfe makes his opinion clear that church and state were separated in 1947 by ruling of the Supreme Court in the Everson trial, and it should remain that way to protect the rights of all citizens. His belief is that integrating the two powers would ultimately lead to further corruption of the government. He also states that keeping...