Negative Resolved: Democracy is best served by a strict separation of church and state. Definitions Democracy: A government by, for and of the people it governs especially a rule by majority. Strict: rigidly set Separation of church and state: a division between institutionalized religion and government Church: an institutionalized religion with a basic value set. State: the government; specifically the procedures that make a government work. An absence of favor or preference is not the same as separation. Republic: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law Morals: the moral significance or practical lesson Law: a binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority Religion: a personalized set or institutionalized system of beliefs and practices. (note that nowhere in this definition of religion does a Supreme Being or supernatural deity come into play.) Value: Individual rights, specifically those which are essential to preserve the essence of democracy. (Equal rights) Ladies and gents, this topic of the separation between church and state is an extremely controversial one, and one that should not be taken lightly in any stance. Contention One: Government can only be established by people with existing knowledge and value sets. Because of the nature of a government, as a person (or some people) ruling over others, a government cannot be established by anything but other people—specifically, people with existing knowledge. By people with existing knowledge, what I mean is relatively intelligent people that at least have some idea what they are doing. For example, generally speaking, two-year-olds do not wake up and establish super-power democracies. Much thought and experience is needed to create a democracy—or any kind of functioning government, for that matter—and it does not happen very often, or by the average Joe person. However, one thing that the nation-creator does have in common with the average Joe person, is that they both have a “church”. A church is an institution that agrees upon a set of moral beliefs or values. You can probably think of a bunch off the top of your head. Christianity. Islam. Judaism. Buddhism. Hindu. These are all institutions that agree on certain ideas of right and wrong. Every person has his or her own belief system of what is right and wrong—especially if they are knowledgeable, which means they have put some thought into it. So every time a government is established, the person creating it has a belief of what is moral and just, and therefore, has a “church”. Contention Two: The ideals that democracies are founded on cannot survive without basic rules that protect human rights and freedoms. In order to preserve the basic freedoms that allow a democracy to work, some basic ground rules must be set down first thing. The freedoms and rights that are so imperative to democracy are things like right to life, freedom of opinion and freedom of speech. Without these, the democratic idea that all people are equal, so all votes are equal, the idea of one mind, one vote, come screeching to a halt. After all, a person can’t vote if they are dead. Thus, in order to protect the delicate balance in which a democracy works, basic laws such as “don’t kill people” are necessary to make a democracy run smoothly. The thing about democracy is that it simply cannot survive without this basic value set of equal rights for everyone. Unless this value, this moral which dictates the more detailed laws that follow, is incorporated into the government, and thus the state, the entire flow of a democracy is disrupted. Restricting the freedom of anyone in a democracy is restricting the freedom of everyone in a democracy. It is restricting the power, the driving force, by which a democracy is made perfect. And if you restrict that force, that power, that ambition to become perfect, then, no, friends, you are not acting in the best interest of democracy. In that case, you would be defeating the purpose of having a democracy to begin with. And that is exactly what happens when you don’t have this clear-cut value set that establishes that everyone is equal. This is not to say that a government cannot exist without this basic value set—but if it does, it is simply not a democracy. Every democracy must have this basic rule to build off of, in order to function, and that is the fundamental working of a democratic government. Contention Three: Without a church and basic value sets to build it on, democracy cannot even begin to exist, let alone thrive. Without the basic set of values, not only are the democratic freedoms and ideals jeopardized, but the democracy is not even created in the first place. A democracy, in its very nature of being adaptable to all religions and churches, is also nothing unless it has a religion or church. A democracy is simply a set of procedures—until it has people to run it, a democracy is just an idea that floats around in the air, waiting for someone to catch it. It is a formula. X + y = z. Until you fill in the x’s and y’s, you are never going to find out what z is. Unless you fill in the people and the morals and the values and all the things that can change a democratic government, there is no way that that democracy will ever exist. Separating church from state doesn’t protect either one—it prohibits the existence of both. It reminds me of being six. I would always go out and ask my parents to buy me those “build your own necklace” kits, with the 700 differently colored beads, the string, and the six-year-old-proof latches. The thing about them was, I’d never actually make a necklace out of them. There was only one string, so I didn’t want to waste it. So instead of having a possibly not-so-great necklace… I had a really blank and boring string, and a bunch of colorful beads. I had all of the ingredients to make a necklace, but I never put them together. Which is exactly like having the idea of democracy and not allowing basic institutionalized belief systems to establish it. All the ingredients for democracy are there, maybe not sitting in color- and shape-coded boxes, but they’re still there. Unless someone puts them together, though, the ingredients just stay ingredients. Without its people, a democracy is just an idealistic formula for self-government; with the people, it is a nation. Restricting the freedom of anyone in a democracy is restricting the freedom of everyone in a democracy. It is restricting the power, the driving force, by which a democracy is made perfect. And if you restrict that force, that power, that ambition to become perfect, then, no, friends, you are not acting in the best interest of democracy. In that case, you would be defeating the purpose of having a democracy to begin with.