The Great Divide!
The American Federal Constitution, in its First Amendment lays down the decree that the State shall not provide support or tax alleviation for the promotion of any religious activity, to encourage a particular religion or faith. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The American Constitution revels in a secular state, wherein no religion can be identified as that of the State. In fact, it adopts what is called, ‘Secularist Irreligion’ in order to do away without any discrepancies with regard to this aspect.
The American population consists of citizens who follow a plethora of religions and sub-faiths and the Constitution only ascertains the fact that none can be supported or discriminated against. This is precisely the reason why the constitution has laid down the law that neither the Government nor the State “can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.… 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 form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.”
This essay is an attempt to adopt a supportive stance towards this statement made by the American Federal Court. The essay argues that the State, in a pluralist society must adopt a secular stance and must certainly take care to omit the passing of any such laws or practices that would create a divide within the society, in perception and in the unity that is often the strength of the pluralist society
Key Point 1:
The key point in this informative essay stems from the fact that the school prayer was a religious motivation, that violated the provisions of the American Constitution. It is due to this, that the author finds it his right to perhaps, protest against the new system introduced, in his own way. He feels the need to stand up against the practice, as he has his own reasons, which are the concerns of law-makers as well.
Key Point 2:
The second article from “My 60-second protest from the Hallway” is a great example of how a minute’s prayer before starting the day in a school in Virginia can raise numerous questions in the minds of students. The authors reveals his innermost apprehensions saying, “I agree with the law’s strongest critics, who argue that it promotes religious discrimination because many faiths do not pray in the seated position mandated by the legislation.” Here, it is certainly proven that when religion gets into an authoritative position in a pluralist society, it disrupts inward peace and causes numerous conflicts, internal and external.
Key Point 3:
Another point that comes through the article is how students have taken to this new rule that has been brought about. For instance, the author recounts the fact that he was the only one who could garner the courage to protest against the norm established in the school. All others have either succumbed to the rule or have chosen to ignore it. At the end of the essay, he hopes that his courage would have inspired at least a few other juniors to express their intolerance towards the mandate. as it would create a negative impact on the student community otherwise.
Restatement of Thesis and Conclusion:
Thus, it is evident that a pluralist society must adopt a pro-secular stance. When any form of religious oppression or mandate comes into play, it create a rift between the otherwise united communities of people. Besides this, schools not only build careers, but also the characters and lives of individuals and therefore, they must be the foremost place of accentuating unity. Any form of religious instigations would only weaken this objective and would put the students in dilemma and create unreasonable prejudices on young impressionable minds. The strength of a Pluralist society lies in ‘Unity in Diversity’ and it is in the best interest of the society, to keep this up!
Website: http://www.wall-of-separation.com/, Retrieved on 22/11/2007
M. Stanton Evan, 06/11/2001, “My 60-Second Protest From the Hallway”, Newsweek, Vol. 137, Issue 24, Database: MasterFILE Premier
N.P. Knipp, October 8, 2005, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, …”, Website: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=2823