George Washington’s Theological or Political Views on the Relationship of Church and State
George Washington stood for individual liberties, stable central government and national freedom that are integral in serving to protect the sovereignty and freedom of its citizens. He believed in the complete adverse separation of the state and Church. As a result, he espoused several ideals associated with European Enlightenment. In studying religion, Washington outlined contradictive concepts that make ones belief absolute and concrete on certain conclusions. Based on the sources examined, his idea had been painted in different lights that range from being a Deist to accepting Christian beliefs. Regardless of the precise conclusion that to be obtained, Washington’s relationship with religion have similar facts. Notably, through his history, Washington exhibited long tradition of services to his family church. Though his parents were exceptional religious and had positive attributes to Church and political developments, Washington showed a different point of view. As a rebel and late, the head of a larger group, his political and religious beliefs to the relationship between Church and state have remarkably showed the point of interest. This paper focuses on examining George Washington’s theological/political views on the relationship between Church and state and how his opinions translated into issues of public policy.
As the first president of America, Washington had exceptional political beliefs and opinions thorough he chose never to affiliate himself with political parties. Most of his cabinet members played a vital role in the formation of the first political parties ever seen in the United States. The parties had different political opinions, some good while other contradicting. But, regardless of these connotations, Washington remained unmoved to join any of them. Later, after some pressure from the citizens, he took side with the Federalist on some significant issues that were affecting his presidency. However, regardless of the complains that were being realized from different political parties and religious bodies, Washington maintained that there Church and state are two different avenues. The issues affecting either cannot be used as a marker to the latter. According to Wilson (64), most of the political views portrayed by Washington were more overarching in terms of scope. In his main outpaces, he stood for stable central government, national freedom and individual liberties that are aimed at protecting the rights as well as the freedom of the citizens. He also believed in complete segregation between the Church and the state; As a result, he maintained that different political parties in the United States could only have an impact to people if they can act a link between them and other governmental bodies.
Regarding active participation in religious beliefs, Washington was a devoted Anglican Church member. He also attended several churches. Later in 1762, after becoming a vestryman in Truro Parish and playing a vital role in overseeing the affairs of the Church, he also served as churchwarden for sometimes in helping the poor (Wilson 44). His life in Church varied adversely across periods. However, he maintained that theology or religious connotations could not be used to validate the relationship between state and Church. According to Washington, a church is an independent body and has the jurisdictions that govern it in various operations. For instance, his belief in an afterlife explains specific cognitive values that determine how coherency is built and developed with the social location. Washington further believed that changing democracy to anarchy is quick unless the people of America had combative moral grounds. This shows that t is more accessible to morals that are the main attributes of religious can shape the state. Washington, in his last farewell address to his people and the country, he reiterated that religion determines morals that are peculiar for national morality.
Additionally, invoking divinity, in most cases, serves as a credible tool in supporting the birth of a nation. This would depend on sound evidence, especially if Washington had believed in anything like the freedom to all American citizens to worship in the best method that pleases them. In 1775, while pushing for tolerance, freedom and plurality, and ordering his troops never to burn the anti-Catholic effigy, it was clear that he had respect to the Catholic Church (Wilson 112). He even later opposed the motion that was committing the state to a specific religion and publicly decried taxes that might be used to support the Church. The approach was to promote religious freedom. The connotation reveals that regardless of the several complications that might have been realized in divinity, the success of churches can easily shape the state. The two are minimal pairs. The pains that Washington took at a personal level to spend time withhis people from different religious affiliation shows that the success of the state can be deduced from how stable the religious forms are outlined in theethical codes. As a result, both the Church and the state can quickly come into a consensus if their demands can be met based on the outlined situations.
Moreover, regardless of the high number of religious Americans during his tenure, Washington ensures that the Church and the state are a standard unit. He called for his people to observe that the nature of a right piety path with little focus on the political direction. Through this consideration he calls for people to ascribe for absence of regulation while respecting the religion in the entire state. Washingtonalso maintains that bit is the role of people at the helm of the government to ensure that religious bodies have considerate evaluation of the nature churches and their contribution to the state (Fraser 112). Interestingly, Washington further maintains that though there are very many contrastingissues that can out the relationship between churches and state asunder, clinging to teachings and the moral connotations helps in ensuring credibility and assertion to the needed coherency. Washington also maintains that the morals from Church are necessary to create an outstanding relationship between it and the state. He continues that morality the Christian perspective have a significant impact on the way the government carry out the activities.
George Washington’s Theological/Political views and Issues of Public Policy
Public policy issues are, in most cases associated with political and theological opinions of people. Washington views played a vital role in asserting these connotations and shapes other meaningful ones that are associated with them. For instance, he recognizes that it is exceptionally natural for all people to know as well as operate with specific groups like political parties. He also maintained that every governmentthat has known political parties as an enemy and sought to repress such groups because of the tendencies that they have in asking for more power as compared to other groups (Cunliffe 132). The belief by Washington that private morality and public morality are inspirable indicates that all policies are essential regardless of their application. For instance, in one was unethical in the closed condition, with friends and families, it is also easier for one to remain unethical in political life. Due to the vast nature of political life, every country needs to elect public officers based on their characters within their private lives.
Washington also believed that even if the elected American people have sterling character, their powers should be limited. This is because human nature is prone to mistakes and is easily corrupted by power. He maintains that the best way to secure a perpetuated power is only possible through freedom. However, if power is divided among groups, and then men of good character are elected, political parties will have quality leaders. Similarly, in foreign policies, it is necessary for Americans to always remain natural in all European wars (Ambler 34). This means that coming to a coherent solution is based on proper understanding between countries as opposed to involvement in wars. In filling public offices that are created by the government, Washington maintains that making appointments based on society heritage, standing, and friendship. Washington’s high-level meetings are based on the idea that only qualified persons should be allowed to work in various offices. His views also provided good judgement to talent and selfless to advance to a higher and promising position. Overall, Washington’s perception towards leadership reveals the importance of having a safe and sound environment where leadership and ownership of a place are based on the understanding that is cane be deduced from other concepts. He insisted on a demonstration of peaceful transfer of power based on the outlines of the new constitution.
Ambler, Charles H. George Washington and the West. UNC Press Books, 2018.
Cunliffe, Marcus. George Washington: man and monument. Pickle Partners Publishing, 2017.
Fraser, James W. Between Church and State: Religion and public education in a multicultural America. JHU Press, 2016.
Wilson, John F. Church And State In American History: Key Documents, Decisions, and Commentary from Five Centuries. Routledge, 2018.
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