Is State, Citizenry, and Leader Neutrality ,in Religious Matters, Necessary?

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Is state, citizenry, and leader neutrality in religious matters necessary? The dichotomy between the State and religion has been at the forefront of society since the dawn of civilization. The common ideologies of the American government, as we know them today, indicate that the State is neutral with respect to the normal values, religious beliefs, and/or ways of life held by its leaders, laws, and citizens alike. Although leaders may hold true to a certain religion and may hold personal morals, it is not necessary to set aside their religious beliefs in order to create a “neutral” society. With that, this paper will first discuss the origins of the attempt to create a “neutral state” as seen in the works of William Penn (1682). This…show more content…
In other words, the liberty professed by Penn, Jefferson and the rest of the founding fathers, is that of Christian liberty. The practicability of the word liberal not as we know it today, but as a step along the way towards secularization of this idea, one where its meaning can have a much wider applicability to all religions - which was an important first step in creating America. By in large, Penn’s piece exemplifies traditional Christian political thought as the basis of liberty and good government arising primarily from charity and/or devotion to the community, and can be further demonstrated by Penn’s conception of government in which he states that “… the glory of almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and end of government” (1682). Thus, much of the roots of American liberalism have a basis in the puritan and Protestant religions. With the advent of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, and the Constitution, one sees the Enlightenment Era philosophers such as John Locke, break the chains of Christian liberty and bring about liberalism in the sense of inalienable natural rights. Moreover, the fusion of liberty, democracy and Christianity are essential in this spirit and crucial to America’s liberal founding. In terms of whether a leader or civil servant must divorce his religion or personal morals when serving the state, it can be argued the underpinnings of a democratic

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