Annika B. Iowa

Why Keep Church and State Separate?

Freedom of religion is no longer free in this country.

To the Future President:

My name is Annika Boonstra. I live in the great state of corn, Iowa. I am a student at Oskaloosa Christian School.

The issue I want to bring to your attention is the separation of church and state. Our country is built on Christian beliefs. In our Pledge of Allegiance it states: “one nation, under God”. Now, some people are threatening to take this particular part out of the Pledge of Allegiance. “In God We Trust” is on all of our currency, but now some people want to this off. Why should we keep church in church when our country is built on Christian beliefs? Michael Newdow, along with many others, have tried multiple times to remove these Christian phrases because it “places a substantial burden on atheists”. It says in the First Amendment we have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of press. So then why do we have to keep our beliefs separate from school and government?

This issue matters to me because I am a Christian and I don’t think it is right that people of any belief can’t pray in a public school. Teachers can’t even talk about what they believe, for they risk losing their job and their reputation. Everyone encourages kids to be who they are, but what if who they are is what they believe in? Would you encourage it as much? We want our kids to learn and explore. I want other kids my age to have the freedom to express their beliefs no matter where they are. I want other public school teachers to be able to quote scripture. If God pertains to the history lesson, let the teacher teach it! This country is a free country, but yet we continue to put borders around it.

I think the president should care about this growing issue because I think that our country would benefit from godly views. Our country needs help and I know with help from God we can achieve the help that we need. Our country was built on Christian beliefs and the Bible. The Pilgrims moved to America for religious reasons. When our country makes major or minor decision, we should look to the Bible and pray about it. If we start to do this our country would go in a direction that would lead us to being a country that is stronger than ever before.

I have told you a lot about this issue, but here are some of my ideas about how to solve it. First, we should allow kids and teachers to be able to talk about their faith openly in schools. We have the freedom of religion, therefore we should be able to practice any of our beliefs freely. We should also make sure that all Constitutional phrases and Christian items, which represent our country, should stay in tact. Before any decision is made, the people involved with this decision should look to the Bible and pray to God for discernment and what would be the right decision to make in this situation. The original purpose of this phrase, “the separation of church and state”, was to keep the state out of the church’s business. Now, people have switched it around. We should bring the church into our state. We should unite the country together using God as our cornerstone.

This issue especially ties to my faith because I am a Christian. I have been a Christian starting from a very young age and I attend a Christian school. There are kids all over the world that dream of being in the place I am in. There are kids all over the world that would love to be able to pray out loud. Instead, many are persecuted every day. Even kids in America, whose parents can’t afford to send them to a Christian school, wish they could pray freely without being asked to stop by a teacher or being made fun of. I wish everyone could have the freedom to walk into any public place and they could yell loudly, “Jesus is my LORD and Savior! Praise Him!” All of the seven billion people on Earth should have the right and the freedom to say what they believe; to be able to practice their beliefs freely without being confronted by their boss or ridiculed by their fellow staff members. 1 Peter 2:13-17 (ESV) states, “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Let us worship freely.

Bethel Music’s lyrics in their song “No Longer Slaves” have always brought me comfort. “I am surrounded by the arms of the Father/I am surrounded by songs of deliverance/We've been liberated from our bondage/We're the sons and the daughters/Let us sing our freedom.” Let us sing our freedom. Let us be able to pray anywhere we want. Let us be able to have our opinions tied with scripture. Let teachers be able to answer questions with history from the Bible and scripture. Let there not be anymore barriers in our society. Let us proclaim the love we have for God. The government wants equality, yet there isn’t even equality between church and state. I promise you with all my heart, that if we brought God into this society we would all be brand new people. It would no longer be the separation of church and state, but the celebration of church and state. We could live in a society where talking about what we believe would be accepted by all. We could offer up a prayer whenever we want to. It says in all history books, in all Constitutional phrases, in our First Amendment that I have the right to proclaim that Jesus is LORD. Stop this judgmental society and break the barriers that you have put between freedom of speech and us. As the new president you have the power to break this wall and bring the American people together. Let the Holy Spirit fill this country. Mr. or Mrs. President, thank you for reading what I have to say and please take all what I have to say into consideration.


Annika Boonstra