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Separation of Church and State Should be Pro-Freedom, Pro-Rights

March 25, 2011

The separation of church and state is one of the most misunderstood principles by Filipino atheists and pseudo-intellectuals. Some Filipino secular mystics like the Filipino Freefarters (Freethinkers) believe that in order to guarantee the total separation of church and state, a political mechanism that would perpetually bar the religionists from trying to influence the government should be put in place.

Based on my personal observation, those who arrogantly yet ignorantly invoke this principle seek to promote neither secularism nor freedom. In truth and in reality, these people (who are mostly misguided atheists) are advocates of arbitrary government control and anti-freedom political measures.

Like I said before, as a freedom loving individual and not merely as an atheist, I believe that the Catholic priests or any religionists have the very right to spread their religious beliefs, defend their faith and doctrines, and even influence the government as long as they don’t initiate the use of force and fraud, and violate objective laws in this country.

Some people accuse the priests of “meddling in” politics. But the problem is, what these people do not understand is that they’re also meddling in politics and trying their very best to influence the government. Again, the mere act of meddling is not illegal. It becomes illegal when such an act involves the use of force, undue influence, or any illegal means.

The separation of church and state simply means the government must not favor any religion or make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This constitutional doctrine is a LIMITATION strictly applied to the state, not to private individuals or groups. It limits the state from making special favors or making a law respecting an establishment of religion. It does not LIMIT the freedom of religion or the rights of any individual. Why is this the case? Because the state or the government holds a monopoly on force. The Catholic Church or any religious institution does not wield the same “force”. Today, the Catholic Church no longer has the political power it enjoyed over 100 years ago.

If you consider this event as Catholic Church's meddling with state affairs, then you don't know what the principle of separation of church and state means. Photo Credit: Inquirer.net

If you consider this event as Catholic Church's meddling with state affairs, then you don't know what the principle of separation of church and state means. Photo Credit: Inquirer.net

This separation clause enshrined in the New Constitution is a recognition of political freedom. It is important to recall that this noble principle was first adopted by the Americans who understood the evil impacts of theocracy on political and intellectual freedom. While many advocate for the observance of this principle, however, most of them seldom fully understand its relation to individual rights and freedom. It is important to know and understand the root of this separation principle– Intellectual Freedom. We and the Americans and the rest of the world that adopted this principle must fully recognize that every individuals should be free  to think about and accept any idea he chooses. Thus, it means that the Catholic priests and the religionists should also be free to exercise free speech, spread their religious advocacy, and even influence the government provided they refrain from resorting to illegal machinations (e.g., bribery, undue influence, etc.).

This separation principle simply requires that the state makes no arbitrary assessment of its citizens’ political ideas, religious beliefs, personal aspirations, among others. The only proper role of the government is to protect individual rights, which means that it is concerned only with men’s overt actions, especially actions that violate individual rights. Thus, the state has no business at all tolerating or promoting ideas, since it is unconcerned with ideas per se.

American philosopher Ayn Rand explained the proper concept of this separation principle. It is now time for us Filipinos to understand its important to our life, freedom, rights and society.

Can capitalism be justified on religious grounds?
There can be no more disastrous error—morally, philosophically and politically—than to assert that the ultimate justification of Capitalism rests on faith. To assert this is to announce that there is no rational justification for Capitalism, no rational arguments to support the principles which created this country—and that reason is on the side of the enemy.

The Communists claim that they are the champions of reason and science. If the Conservatives concede that claim and retreat into the realm of religion, it will be an act of intellectual abdication, the kind of intellectual surrender that the Communists’ irrational ideology could never have won on its own merits.

The conflict between Capitalism and Communism is a philosophical and moral conflict, which must be fought and won in men’s minds, in the realm of ideas; without that victory, no victory in the political realm is possible. But one cannot win men’s minds by telling them not to think; one cannot win an intellectual battle by renouncing the intellect; one cannot convince anybody by appealing to faith.

Capitalism is perishing by default. The historical cause of its destruction is the failure of its philosophical advocates to present a full, consistent case and to offer a moral justification for their stand. Yet reason is on the side of Capitalism; an irrefutable rational case can be, and must be, offered by its defenders. The philosophical default of the Conservatives will become final, if Capitalism—the one and only rational way of life—is reduced to the status of a mystic doctrine.

I am not suggesting that you should take a stand against religion. I am saying that Capitalism and religion are two separate issues, which should not be united into one “package deal” or one common cause. This does not mean that religious persons cannot crusade for Capitalism; but it does mean that nonreligious persons, like myself, cannot crusade for religion.

June 4, 1960 Letter to Barry Goldwater, Letters of Ayn Rand

Sensing their need of a moral base, many “conservatives” decided to choose religion as their moral justification; they claim that America and capitalism are based on faith in God.

Politically, such a claim contradicts the fundamental principles of the United States: in America, religion is a private matter which cannot and must not be brought into political issues.

Intellectually, to rest one’s case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one’s enemies—that one has no rational arguments to offer. The “conservatives’” claim that their case rests on faith, means that there are no rational arguments to support the American system, no rational justification for freedom, justice, property, individual rights, that these rest on a mystic revelation and can be accepted only on faith—that in reason and logic the enemy is right, but men must hold faith as superior to reason.

Consider the implications of that theory. While the communists claim that they are the representatives of reason and science, the ‘conservatives” concede it and retreat into the realm of mysticism, of faith, of the supernatural, into another world, surrendering this world to communism. It is the kind of victory that the communists’ irrational ideology could never have won on its own merits.

Observe the results. On the occasion of Khrushchev’s first visit to America, he declared, at a televised luncheon, that he had threatened to bury us because it has been “scientifically” proved that communism is the system of the future, destined to rule the world. What did our spokesman answer? Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge answered that our system is based on faith in God. Prior to Khrushchev’s arrival, the “conservative” leaders—including senators and House members—were issuing indignant protests against his visit, but the only action they suggested to the American people, the only “practical” form of protest, was: prayer and the holding of religious services for Khrushchev’s victims. To hear prayer offered as their only weapon by the representatives of the most powerful country on earth—a country allegedly dedicated to the fight for freedom—was enough to discredit America and capitalism in anyone’s eyes, at home and abroad.

“Conservatism: An Obituary,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

According to the Constitutional principle of the separation of Church and State, religion is a private matter; it should not be brought into public issues or into the province of government, and it should not be made a part of political movements. Consider the implications of the attempt to tie Conservatism to religion: if such an attempt succeeded, it would make religion an integral part of our political system, in direct contradiction to the Constitution. The next question to arise would be: which religion? Religions have lived in peace with one another and with nonreligious thinkers only since the XIX century, since the American establishment of the principle separating Church and State. Some of them, notably the Catholic Church, have never renounced their dream of regaining control of the State’s power of compulsion. Is this a goal that the advocates of Capitalism can support, assist or sanction? If this goal were to succeed, what would become of religious minorities? Or of those who hold no religion?

June 4, 1960 Letter to Barry Goldwater, Letters of Ayn Rand

A secular political movement does not exclude religious people. A religious political movement does exclude nonreligious people, such as myself and those who agree with me.

June 4, 1960 Letter to Barry Goldwater, Letters of Ayn Rand

Is the United States a religious nation?
According to the Constitutional principle of the separation of Church and State, religion is a private matter; it should not be brought into public issues or into the province of government, and it should not be made a part of political movements. Consider the implications of the attempt to tie Conservatism to religion: if such an attempt succeeded, it would make religion an integral part of our political system, in direct contradiction to the Constitution. The next question to arise would be: which religion? Religions have lived in peace with one another and with nonreligious thinkers only since the XIX century, since the American establishment of the principle separating Church and State. Some of them, notably the Catholic Church, have never renounced their dream of regaining control of the State’s power of compulsion. Is this a goal that the advocates of Capitalism can support, assist or sanction? If this goal were to succeed, what would become of religious minorities? Or of those who hold no religion?

June 4, 1960 Letter to Barry Goldwater, Letters of Ayn Rand

Sensing their need of a moral base, many “conservatives” decided to choose religion as their moral justification; they claim that America and capitalism are based on faith in God.

Politically, such a claim contradicts the fundamental principles of the United States: in America, religion is a private matter which cannot and must not be brought into political issues.

“Conservatism: An Obituary,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Are religious conservatives advocates of capitalism?
Sensing their need of a moral base, many “conservatives” decided to choose religion as their moral justification; they claim that America and capitalism are based on faith in God.

Politically, such a claim contradicts the fundamental principles of the United States: in America, religion is a private matter which cannot and must not be brought into political issues.

Intellectually, to rest one’s case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one’s enemies—that one has no rational arguments to offer. The “conservatives’” claim that their case rests on faith, means that there are no rational arguments to support the American system, no rational justification for freedom, justice, property, individual rights, that these rest on a mystic revelation and can be accepted only on faith—that in reason and logic the enemy is right, but men must hold faith as superior to reason.

Consider the implications of that theory. While the communists claim that they are the representatives of reason and science, the ‘conservatives” concede it and retreat into the realm of mysticism, of faith, of the supernatural, into another world, surrendering this world to communism. It is the kind of victory that the communists’ irrational ideology could never have won on its own merits.

Observe the results. On the occasion of Khrushchev’s first visit to America, he declared, at a televised luncheon, that he had threatened to bury us because it has been “scientifically” proved that communism is the system of the future, destined to rule the world. What did our spokesman answer? Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge answered that our system is based on faith in God. Prior to Khrushchev’s arrival, the “conservative” leaders—including senators and House members—were issuing indignant protests against his visit, but the only action they suggested to the American people, the only “practical” form of protest, was: prayer and the holding of religious services for Khrushchev’s victims. To hear prayer offered as their only weapon by the representatives of the most powerful country on earth—a country allegedly dedicated to the fight for freedom—was enough to discredit America and capitalism in anyone’s eyes, at home and abroad.

“Conservatism: An Obituary,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

This leads me to the subject of the National Review. I am profoundly opposed to it—not because it is a religious magazine, but because it pretends that it is not. There are religious magazines which one can respect, even while disagreeing with their views. But the fact that the National Review poses as a secular political magazine, while following a strictly religious “party line,” can have but one purpose: to slip religious goals by stealth on those who would not accept them openly, to “bore from within,” to tie Conservatism to religion, and thus to take over the American Conservatives. This attempt comes from a pressure group wider than the National Review, but the National Review is one of its manifestations.

June 4, 1960 Letter to Barry Goldwater, Letters of Ayn Rand

Is there any difference between the [papal] encyclical’s philosophy and communism? I am perfectly willing, on this matter, to take the word of an eminent Catholic authority. Under the headline: “Encyclical Termed Rebuff to Marxism,” The New York Times of March 31, 1967, reports: “The Rev. John Courtney Murray, the prominent Jesuit theologian, described Pope Paul’s newest encyclical yesterday as ‘the church’s definitive answer to Marxism.’ . . . ‘The Marxists have proposed one way, and in pursuing their program they rely on man alone,’ Father Murray said. ‘Now Pope Paul VI has issued a detailed plan to accomplish the same goal on the basis of true humanism—humanism that recognizes man’s religious nature.’”

Amen.

So much for those American “conservatives” who claim that religion is the base of capitalism—and who believe that they can have capitalism and eat it, too, as the moral cannibalism of the altruist ethics demands.

And so much for those modern “liberals” who pride themselves on being the champions of reason, science, and progress—and who smear the advocates of capitalism as superstitious, reactionary representatives of a dark past. Move over, comrades, and make room for your latest fellow-travelers, who had always belonged on your side—then take a look, if you dare, at the kind of past they represent.

“Requiem for Man,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Should abortion be legal?
Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?

“Of Living Death,” [The Voice of Reason][VOR]

If any among you are confused or taken in by the argument that the cells of an embryo are living human cells, remember that so are all the cells of your body, including the cells of your skin, your tonsils, or your ruptured appendix—and that cutting them is murder, according to the notions of that proposed law. Remember also that a potentiality is not the equivalent of an actuality—and that a human being’s life begins at birth.

The question of abortion involves much more than the termination of a pregnancy: it is a question of the entire life of the parents. As I have said before, parenthood is an enormous responsibility; it is an impossible responsibility for young people who are ambitious and struggling, but poor; particularly if they are intelligent and conscientious enough not to abandon their child on a doorstep nor to surrender it to adoption. For such young people, pregnancy is a death sentence: parenthood would force them to give up their future, and condemn them to a life of hopeless drudgery, of slavery to a child’s physical and financial needs. The situation of an unwed mother, abandoned by her lover, is even worse.

I cannot quite imagine the state of mind of a person who would wish to condemn a fellow human being to such a horror. I cannot project the degree of hatred required to make those women run around in crusades against abortion. Hatred is what they certainly project, not love for the embryos, which is a piece of nonsense no one could experience, but hatred, a virulent hatred for an unnamed object. Judging by the degree of those women’s intensity, I would say that it is an issue of self-esteem and that their fear is metaphysical. Their hatred is directed against human beings as such, against the mind, against reason, against ambition, against success, against love, against any value that brings happiness to human life. In compliance with the dishonesty that dominates today’s intellectual field, they call themselves “pro-life.”

By what right does anyone claim the power to dispose of the lives of others and to dictate their personal choices?

“The Age of Mediocrity,” The Objectivist Forum

Is the use of birth control a right?
In regard to the moral aspects of birth control, the primary right involved is not the “right” of an unborn child, nor of the family, nor of society, nor of God. The primary right is one which—in today’s public clamor on the subject—few, if any, voices have had the courage to uphold: the right of man and woman to their own life and happiness—the right not to be regarded as the means to any end.

“Of Living Death,” [The Voice of Reason][VOR]

Source: Principles of a Free Society Website

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. tamarindox permalink
    March 26, 2011 3:38

    In short, to advocate the total separation of the state and the church, we must identify that the ONLY proper function of government in the life of an individual is the protection of his rights, his liberty.

  2. Mark permalink
    March 31, 2011 3:38

    So, what about the Church signaling threats of ‘excommunication’ to their believers if they decide to support the RH Bill? Is that an obstruction of one’s freedom/right to decide or choose?

    • March 31, 2011 3:38

      If you want to penalize that “kind” of hilarious threat, which is being sensationalized by RH bill idiots like you, then ask the Congress to create a law penalizing it. Perhaps tell that to the pro-RH bill Catholics who’ve been urging the Church to pursue its “threat”.

      • Mark permalink
        April 1, 2011 3:38

        I’m not really Catholic to begin with, so I don’t really care. But thanks for replying tho, albeit being stupid. LOL

    • April 1, 2011 3:38

      why would a sane person take that “threat” seriously? anything that jeopardizes your life and your freedom here on earth is a threat. ex-communication can do nothing to harm you. burning at the stakes is a threat. it killed Galileo. if i were ex-communicated, i’d tell the pope sorry sir but that doesn’t apply to me.

      • barefoot cinderella permalink
        July 28, 2011 3:38

        you’re ignorant of history. Galileo was put under house arrest and retired in the lap of luxury under the auspices of the church.

  3. Idiot Priests permalink
    March 3, 2013 3:38

    What a lengthy idiotic write-up!!!

    Separation of Church and State does not only mean that the government will not favor a specific religion but also a TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE SEPARATION of Church and State!!!

    The government will NOT talk anything about the church or religion and the church should also NOT talk, mention or in short meddle with ANY POLITICAL ISSUES!!!

    If the priest would like to express their opinions regarding, against or for any political issues — THEY SHOULD LEAVE THEIR SOTANAS BEHIND and speak as a citizen or member of a political body and NOT speak as one in behalf of the church and absolutely NOT speak using whatever religious or biblical belief or teachings to reason out or attack any political issues!!! Why??!! Because that will be a form of coercion to the public!!!!

    The only business that a TRUE church should do is to teach the words of God according to its context and have to be made only INSIDE the church OR in any purely religious gatherings!!! It will be on the hands of the church goers whether to follow the said teachings outside or not…

    I am a churchgoer and attend mass every Sunday, I believe in God with all my heart and say prayer every now and then BUT whatever religious beliefs that I have, I don’t impose it to others so as to sway them to what I believe ‘coz that is a coercion. But because of the church’s (priests’) unprofessional behavior during the mass by discussing things that are NOT in the bible, I stopped attending mass but instead go to church just to pray (including the souls of God’s so-called “messengers of the word”).

    If I want to know about a law – I ask a lawyer who knows how to “properly” interpret the law. Or if I am confused with highly medical terms that only science can explain I ask a doctor or a person who is expert to that field — BUT I’LL DEFINITELY NOT ASK A PRIEST WHO KNOWS NOTHING BUT THE BIBLE!!!!

    Church teaching are for the priest as political opinions are for the political members of a society. If priests would like their opinions to be heard regarding political issues then DON’T USE THE SANCTITY OF THE CHURCH AS A CLOAK FOR THEIR SPEECHES ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES!!!! Political arena is a dirty place thus don’t drag the church to such… Freedom of Speech is protected by our Constitution but is NOT ABSOLUTE and the separation of church and state is one of its limits, not absolute limit though just on religious principles against any political issues!!!!

    AMEN!!!!

    • March 3, 2013 3:38

      I don’t think you understand what you just typed.

      What is your concept of “meddling in political affairs”? When is this “meddling” prohibited by law?

      What then is your proposal then to solve this “Catholic” problem?

      1. Propose a law that would prohibit them from expressing their political views.
      2. Public condemnation.
      3. Incarcerate them or lodge a complaint against them.
      4. Ban religions in the Philippines
      5. What?

      https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/catholic/#comment-5382

      With this Separation clause, the State cannot establish religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or interfere with religious affairs. This clause is a LIMITATION on state/government power or authority.

      In other words, the Separation principle is strictly applied against the State and not against religion. This is a very simple fact unknown to many Filipinos. And this is perhaps the reason why Celdran wantonly, deliberately carried out his stupid publicity stunt to promote the then RH bill. He thought that the Roman Catholic Church was in breach of the Separation doctrine. It was not. The truth is, the Catholic bishops and priests were merely exercising their right to free speech. Like any private individual or group, the Catholic establishment is also entitled to free speech. It can– and has the right to– influence its own people, including the government. What do you think the leftists and leftist establishments are doing? They’re also trying to influence the government.

      https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/darwin-awardee-celdrans-hypocrisy-and-stupidity-masquerading-as-free-speech/

  4. April 15, 2013 3:38

    Apparently you have read or Heard about JFK’s Speech on Separation of Church and State

    • April 15, 2013 3:38

      I’m no fan, so the answer is NO. I’m interested to see it though…

    • April 15, 2013 3:38

      Now that I saw the clip I think I know what you’d like to imply.

      JFK said no catholic or priest should tell the president or the government what to do. He’s right! I agree with what he said.

      No one must dictate to the president of any nation what to do. Not church people, business people, communists, socialists, etc.

      That “NEGATIVE” capacity applies not only to religious people, but also to non-religious people LIKE ME or you perhaps.

      But since religious people or the church must not tell the president what to do, should we now CRIMINALIZE such an act or capacity?

      Read the blog.

      I think that criminalizing such an act or capacity is in breach of FREE SPEECH and FREEDOM. For example, what if Iglesia Ni Cristo asked its people to vote only for those who support a particular government policy? Now can we file a case against INC leaders and send them to jail?

      Or: can we JAIL any priest who tells its people not to support the RH bill? If the answer is in the affirmative, then, does that mean that priests do NOT have FREE SPEECH in these parts?

      If that’s the case, can we also jail socialist ZEALOTS for spreading propaganda and for trying to turn this nation into a Maoist slave pen?

      Now if you’d like to PREVENT religious people for INFLUENCING others and the government, then, what is your proposed action?

      WOULD YOU:

      1. Propose a new law that would JAIL “influence-peddling” priests or religious people?
      2. Would you just tell the government to IGNORE them?
      3. What? Tell me…

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