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Separation of Church and State

04 October 2012, 15:00
This article is NOT intended to inspire another debate as to whether God does, or does not, exist. I would like to simply start off with the premises that there are people who believe in God and people who don't and, amongst those who do, there is major disagreement on the form that (s)he takes and the requirements of individual beliefs.

Where I have noticed some agreement (in theory, but not in practice) is that belief is a personal thing and should not affect the lives of other people. To me, this means that church and state should be separated, i.e. that one should be allowed to live ones own life as one chooses, but that those choices should never be legislatively imposed on anyone else. As superficial examples, public schools should never be made to teach ID, gays should be allowed to marry and infidelity should not be criminalised. The simple reason for this is that others (whether or not minorities) should not be made to live according to the dictates of another person's belief system. Do you agree?

If you do not agree, please comment as to why. And, in providing such an answer, please include guidance as to the following practicalities: (a) Which belief should influence policy? Is it yours? Is it the dominant? (b) If yes, what happens if the majority shifts? Would you accept the dictates of another religious policy if it became dominant and you found yourself in a minority? (c) If you wouldn't, how would you protect your individual rights? Would you push for separation of belief and policy, or would you fight to have your minority belief dictate policy, despite majority dissatisfaction? (d) What else do you have to say on the matter?
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