05 December 2009

England v. the US

OK, my post here is about religious establishment: a major point in my blogs. England has a state religion, the Anglican Church (and Scotland has the Church of Scotland).

The First Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly forbids the U.S. federal government from enacting any law respecting a religious establishment, and thus forbids either designating an official church for the United States, or interfering with State and local official churches. That means that the US is a Secular State. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion/nonreligion over other religions/nonreligion.

The US Constitutional provisions providing for a Secular State are pretty clear cut as I point out in my post: Why do yanks forget this one when they talk about religious establishment???. A State religion is forbidden explicitly under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as implicitly in Article VI of the same document.

Another point, why bother breaking from Britain if the US wanted to remain a "Christian Nation"? I mean the UK has its state religion. Wouldn't that system work well for the Colonies?

The problem is that there are fringe loonies who want to turn the US into a Christian nation despite what the Constitution says.

On the other hand, the UK has a State relgion and will push it down your throat at pretty much at every opportunity (says he who is enjoying Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity). And even though I tend to ignore most things religious, I notice that there is an attempt at understanding between Britains Christians and other religions in the UK. For example, Philip Leacock's film Hand in Hand about a Christian boy and a little Jewish girl who become friends despite the prejudice that surrounds them sticks in my mind from when I was a kid.

Currently, Britain is trying to understand its Muslim citizens and make sure they don't feel marginalised. That may be something which is easier said than done. However, what brought this post about from simmering in my brain was that Kurbaan's song Shukraan Allah (Thank you, Allah/God) just made number 1 in the BBC Asian Network Charts! Yeah, that's not Number 1 in the National Charts, but its a start.

One thing that Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity pointed out was that Islam and Christianity (and I would add in Judaism) have quite a bit of similarities. The US, as a Secular Society should would on appreciating the religions other than protestant Christianity that are practised by its citizens.

Otherwise, why should it have bothered to have broken from England?