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On religion and its significance

By Fjodor on Feb. 29, 2012.

It may not have been entirely clear to you, my very limited audience, that I live in a country that, while insignificant in size, does both differ and adhere to more general, international, standards in general, and raise questions about others specifically.

What I refer to here, is a discussion that I have been having in Facebook, regarding the US’ separation of church and state (or lack thereof), and what I think that I have learned from engaging in such conversations.

First of all, I shall state that I am not a US citizen, but since the US, in general, seems to be very keen on promoting its ideas abroad, and since my own country, while small, is generally praised as a valuable ally in more respects than just the normal, military, sense of the word, I do tend to take an interest in US politics. In this regard, I am a huge fan of the, seemingly constitutional, separation of church and state, but it would seem that at least some of my American acquaintances oppose this quite fervently.

Apart from stating that however you, US citizen, look at the constitutional separation from a purely “this piece of paper says this” stance, there is this neat little thing called the Supreme Court, which has consistently ruled that Church and State are, indeed, entities that should be separated in any and all respects as a matter of law. To advertise for divergence from this would not only be to undermine the authority of the courts, but also, and thus, to undermine any aspiration to adhere to the normal standards for a democracy.

I shall contrast this with the situation here in Denmark. We have a state church, to which every newborn child is automatically a member, until their parent or guardian says otherwise, or until the person, at a legal age, says otherwise. While member of the state church, one pays a 1% income tax in addition to the highest tax rate that I know of.

It is permitted, of course, to adhere to other belief systems than the state one, and you can be exempt from paying the church tax by “opting out”, but the state church still gets some of the tax money through other arrangements.

I am a very staunch atheist myself, but of any of you, who have religious beliefs, I ask if you would be comfortable having a bona fide State Church, that even if you were religious, but just didn’t subscribe to that specific branch, had a privileged position, set down in a constitution, that is actually involved in all aspects of registering child births and name giving.

As always, see things from the other perspective before you hold yourself righteously privileged…

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