Separation of church and state is critical

Throughout the years, America has become a diverse melting pot of people from every corner of the world with many bringing their traditions, recipes, and religions.

Opinion

Throughout the years, America has become a diverse melting pot of people from every corner of the world with many bringing their traditions, recipes, and religions. It’s long been clear that Christianity is buried deep in America’s roots. In 1970, 90 percent of Americans identified as Christian, and over the course of a mere 50 years, that number has plummeted to 63 percent. Although the American population has diversified in terms of religion, the government hasn’t. Every single U.S. president and vice president has been Christian. Additionally, 87 percent of the current U.S. congress is Christian. 

The U.S. government has a direct relationship with Christianity, and it has clearly influenced its citizens, leading to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, among many others. In order to properly represent the entirety of this country, we must elect citizens from other religious backgrounds into the government. 

The Christian control of the U.S. has also led to a shift in American culture, in favor of Christianity. American culture has developed around Christianity, strengthening its grasp on the government. Every religion has its own holidays, but in the U.S. workers are only given days off to celebrate Christian holidays, meaning that if a person who wasn’t Christian wanted to celebrate a non-Christian holiday, they would need to do it on their own time. This forces all non-Christians to choose between two options: they can celebrate the holiday and lose pay for missing work, or assimilate into American culture. 

Jewish people make up around 5 percent of the San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley metro area, meaning that every time a major Jewish holiday comes around, such as Yom Kippur, around 250,000 people need to miss a full day of work. In comparison, Christians don’t need to miss anything on days when they have holidays, such as Christmas, because it is a federal holiday. 

This extra work can pile up quickly and cause students a lot of harm. Fasting for long periods of time has been proven to lead to insomnia, fatigue, decreased concentration, all of which can vastly affect a student’s ability to learn. It is unjust to expect students who are fasting to come to school, as well as to add extra work to their already busy lives, simply because of their religion.

Many countries have tried and succeeded in creating an inclusive government that helps spread equality and democracy throughout their countries. For example, Singapore’s government has positions that are automatically given to people in certain ethnic groups. Singapore is the most religiously diverse country in the entire world, yet despite having such religious diversity there is little to no hate speech between religious groups in Singapore: the opposite of the U.S. If America opens positions to be given to people who follow certain religions, it would not only create harmony between separate religious groups, but would also restore the First Amendment right that we all deserve.