The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Religious control over politics dangerous

According to Sean Paroski’s column on April 28, the writer seems to think that religion has a justifiable effect on U.S. politics.

Is he kidding? There was a time in history when church and state were integrated, and that was known as the Dark Ages. To refresh the reader’s memory with a bit of a history lesson here, the Dark Ages were a time when no technological or scientific advancements were made. Not to mention that during this time, it was also illegal to not follow the state ordained and compelled religion, with violations often punishable by death. You’d think we would have learned our lesson from the past mistakes of others, but history does have a way of repeating itself.

It is true that there is nothing wrong in and of itself with a politician visiting a church. After all, politicians have the right to believe whatever they want, just like any other U.S. citizen. But to assume that the integration of religion into politics is anything but damaging is inept.

A democracy is run by the philosophy of the majority. But don’t confuse philosophy with religion. Just because this society passed laws against murder and supporting social welfare programs doesn’t mean that they were intrinsically derived from the Ten Commandments. Call me optimistic, but I think that any civilized society can decide that it’s in their best interest to outlaw murder without a religious basis for the reasoning.

Paroski seems to think the separation of church and state argument is a logical fallacy. Let us allow the U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps the greatest source on this topic, to provide a little bit of a history lesson on the establishment clause. Here is the Court’s stance on the establishment clause taken from the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education:

“The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever from they may adopt to teach or practice religion.

Neither a state nor the federal government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.'”

Is this “pure sophistry,” as Paroski wrote? Note the section that says no tax in any amount may be used to support religious activities. That includes prayer in schools, and especially creating laws based on religion.

To the exact opposite of Paroski’s argument, this nation is headed toward another decade of government sponsorship of religion. It’s the conservative ascendancy from the 1980s all over again, including the televangelists, and the only thing that is standing in their way are the courts.

I have a new “You know you’re at CSUN when…” statement for the Sundial:

“You know you’re at CSUN when in the same week the student newspaper attacks the judiciary and supports the integration of religion into politics.”

Mike Siciliano,

Junior journalism major

Editor’s Note: The views of guest columnists as expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect the views of the the Daily Sundial or its editorial board. Their valued opinions are their own.

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