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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Opinion

Texas should keep the church and state separate


Texas should keep the church and state separate

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

One value that Americans typically hold dear in theory is the freedom of religion. This freedom supposedly comes from the fact that America separates the church and state, however Texas is unfortunately bad at keeping these two things apart. 

Recently, Texas passed a law banning abortion after six weeks based on the idea that most fetuses have a heartbeat after six weeks, thus naming it the “heartbeat bill.” The law implies that life starts after a heartbeat in the womb. 

Many will argue that science determines when life starts but science claims that things like bacteria are alive too. Being alive doesn’t necessarily mean it in the sense that anti-abortion people mean it.

The idea of when life starts for a being like a human is controversial because it’s largely philosophical. Many believe life to start at birth and that’s how it’s been for a long time. 

Much of the ideas behind why life starts at six weeks and after is philosophical and based on verses from the Book of Exodus that condemns men who cause miscarriage with violence. Now everyone in Texas is subject to the beliefs of Christians whether they follow that religion or not. 

This is not okay. The United States has often prided itself on its separation of church and state. Many of the early settlers in North America were fleeing religious persecution. Because of this, the First Amendment says that Congress will not make a law prohibiting a religion or favoring a religion. 

However, this Texas abortion law and all other laws restricting abortion in this country are based in Christian religious beliefs.

Abortion availability isn’t the only thing that is litigated by religious beliefs in Texas. The ability to buy liquor is too. Liquor cannot be purchased at all on Sundays and on certain holidays as well. Recently, Texas legalized the sale of all alcoholic beverages before noon on Sunday, but before that it wasn’t allowed.

The reason Texas has these strict liquor laws is that in response to prohibition being repealed, Texas then created the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code as a blue law, which are laws that don’t allow the sale of certain items on Sundays as a means for everyone to rest during the Sabbath. Once again, Texas has laws based in religious beliefs that no one else should have to follow.

It’s also interesting to note that the Texas Capitol has a Ten Commandments Monument on government property, a clear symbol of Christianity. 

Texas has a pattern of letting Christianity trickle into the government and this isn’t okay. As the Republican party goes more right, more conservatives boldly say they believe America is a Christian nation.

This is dangerous as America is diverse, with tons of different religions. If America, or even Texas, puts Christianity first, that leaves millions of people as second class citizens due to their religion. 

The presence of religion, specifically Christianity, in Texas laws is worrying. In order to stop this, it’s important to vote against any proposition that is written with the goal of prioritizing one religion’s practices over others. Research your representatives and if they support religion in government, vote them out. 

Religion has no place in the government. Federal, state or otherwise. 

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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