Separation of Church and State
“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.” John Adams - 2nd President of the US
The first Amendment to the Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. It was used by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 in a letter to the Baptist Association in Danbury, Connecticut. In his letter, Jefferson assured the Baptists that the government could not interfere with their denomination’s form of worship because of ‘a wall of separation of church and state.’
This is all Jefferson meant in his letter. Jefferson believed that the government was not to interfere with religious expression as happened in so many other countries. Over the next century and a half, government support of religious institutions was accepted as essential to maintaining a moral society through religious instructions.
This all came to an end in 1947. In Everson v. Board of Education (2), the Supreme Court ruled - 5 to 4 - that the state of New Jersey reimbursing private schools for transportation costs violated the Constitution. This decision opened the floodgates to countless lawsuits aimed at eliminating state support for religious institutions and later to remove religion from public life.
Since 1947, the First Amendment has been reinterpreted to mean the opposite of what it meant for the first 150 years.
Founding Fathers interpretation of separation of church and state
The people who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights should know what they meant!!! There is no evidence whatsoever that the founding fathers wanted to keep Christian morality, ideals or symbols out of public life. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that the Founding Fathers accepted religious pronouncements by public officials as normal and acceptable. They recognized that laws must be based on a moral code - or else laws are meaningless. The moral code that America was founded on was Christianity and the Bible. Despite the fact that most modern text books in our public schools try to coverup or ignore this fact, it is undeniable. There is overwhelming evidence that the Founding Fathers wanted Christianity to be an integral part of society - without mandating it. It is obvious that ‘separation of church and state’ does NOT mean removal of Christianity from public life.
The First Amendment means exactly what it says!!! “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . .” Congress will not establish a state mandated religion that people are expected to belong to. “. . . or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Any one can express any religious conviction they want in any setting - public or private, by private citizens or elected officials. Any church can run their service the way they like and worship the way they want. “. . . or abridging the freedom of speech . . .” No law can be passed diminishing or reducing the people’s right to express their opinion on religion, politics, etc. Amazingly, liberal judges have abolished this section of the Constitution regarding free speech of religious views - specifically Christian views.
The words “Creator,” “divine Providence”, “God” were all used by the Founding Fathers in writing the Declaration of Independence. They often prayed for wisdom and guidance from God. They prayed for God’s guidance at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The first President, George Washington, and every president since, has placed his hand on the Bible and ends the oath of office with “so help me God”.
In Europe and many other countries, the government established an official religion for that country. In Spain and Italy, it was Catholic, In Germany it was Lutheran, In England, it was Anglican, or the Church of England. In Moslem countries, it is Islam. If you didn’t belong to these religions, you would suffer persecution and you were denied certain rights that members of that religion were given.
Although in some colonies in early America, a particular denomination was persecuted, this happened on a small scale and became less and less of an issue. As time went on, the freedom to worship as one chose became one of the most cherished freedoms in colonial society. During the Revolutionary War, every Christian denomination was involved in the fight for freedom. After the Revolutionary War was won, religious freedom was deemed so important it became the first amendment in the Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment was able to solve a previously unsolvable problem that had plagued Christendom for centuries. Nineteenth-century Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story stated “It [the First Amendment] thus cut off the means of religious persecution (the vice and pest of former ages) and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion which had been trampled upon almost from the days of the Apostles to the present age.” (3)
Modern interpretation of separation of church and state
The political left believes that any reference to God or the Christian religion should be removed from all public buildings and any mention of God, Jesus or other Christian terms should not be spoken in schools or any other public setting. This viewpoint is wrong for 4 basic reasons:
1) The modern interpretation - rather re-interpretation - of the First Amendment and the Constitution goes against the historical evidence for the first 150 years of this nation’s existence. This reinterpretation is fraudulent since it isn’t even based on the Constitution - rather one sentence in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. This re-interpretation of separation of church and state was 100% politically motivated. It was a deliberate invention to give legal justification for implementing a new moral agenda on the American people by the political left. So what is the moral agenda of the political left? These people reject the morals of Christianity. The objective was to free society of the “constraints” of Judeo Christian ethics, to eliminate Christianity as the basis for law in America and establish a secular, pagan culture in America. This objective has been achieved. The civility and stability that American society used to be is mostly gone. What made American culture so attractive to the rest of the world is gone.
Claims by the political left that the Christian right wants to establish a theocracy is not true. This is nothing but a scare tactic by the left to raise money from Americans the left has brainwashed over the years. America has NEVER been a theocracy and no one wants to make it one now. Iran and Saudia Arabia are examples today of a theocracy.
2) The political left is not intelligent enough to understand the difference between freedom of speech and religious coercion. Several years ago, Rep. Melvin Watt (Democrat, NC) cried, “There are some citizens in this country who don’t necessarily believe in God . . . we have an obligation to protect their rights also.”(4) Watt’s sentiments are typical of the political lefts twisted belief system in the area of freedom of speech. Protect their rights from what? Hearing a point of view they disagree with? Hearing words you don’t like is NOT a violation of your rights. This is what freedom of speech is all about. When you can’t make religious statements in public or display religious symbols in public because someone is offended, you have effectively outlawed freedom of speech, since everyone will be offended at something.
3) Places minority values over majority values by judicial edict. Most Americans believe in God. The belief system of the majority of Americans for 200 years are now held hostage to an ideological minority due to fraudulent judicial rulings.
4) Eliminates society’s ability to establish social norms. The majority should be able to determine the value system for society. If we cannot trust the majority of citizens to make reasonable guidelines for society to operate under, then we have just admitted that the Kings and Queens of Europe were right after all - people are too stupid to rule themselves. We should just abolish Congress and let 9 Supreme Court judges make all the rules.
Believing that certain practices are harmful to society is a legitimate reason to pass laws against it. For instance, every state had laws against homosexual sodomy until it was declared unconstitutional in 2003. Controlling the amount of temptation people have to deal with is certainly not harmful to society. It is society’s right and obligation to establish social norms through legislative action based on the beliefs of society. Obviously, personal freedom must be weighed against the overall needs of society and the legislative process is where a common ground has historically been hammered out.
Actions that ARE a violation of separation of church and state
• If someone puts a gun to your head and orders you to accept some religion.
• Making you prove you belong to a particular religion in order to get a loan or job.
• Charging you an extra tax for not belonging to the state religion. (this happens in Muslim countries. Christians must pay an extra tax for not being Muslim)
• For a politician to order people to pray - under penalty of law.
• A person must belong to a specific church in order to be able to run for public office.
These Actions are Freedom of Speech
• Displaying Christian symbols in public buildings is NOT an endorsement of religion, rather a statement to the public that the laws of the land were founded on Judeo-Christian ethics.
• Crosses on graves at military cemeteries. (freedom of expression)
• Saying a Christian prayer in school. (this is free speech)
• Not participating in prayer at school or some other public function.
• For a politician to encourage people to pray on a specific day for a certain issue. (this is free speech)
• To say a prayer in the state or federal legislature at the start of business.
Effects on Society
Society’s ability to establish norms has been eliminated. Pornography, gambling, sexual perversion, abortion, gay rights are all accepted by many in society and now championed by the government.
Basic freedoms we have long taken for granted - particularly freedom of speech - are being systematically curtailed. Freedom FROM religion is really a sneak attack by the political left on freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression. When you begin to abolish freedom of speech because someone is “offended”, you have in reality abolished freedom of speech since everyone is offended by something. Being “offended” is only legitimate concerning religion. People can swear in public, urinate and if you don’t like it too bad. What most leftists REALLY mean when they talk about freedom of speech is you can speak your mind as long as you agree with them. The true face of ‘political correctness’ is loss of freedom. If you think this is an exaggeration, consider the following:
Go to a liberal College and say things your liberal professor doesn't like. Look at the attacks on people who want to display Christian symbols or patriotic symbols in schools and other public places. Disagree with a black on a racial policy. Try and get a public school to teach Creationism along with evolution. Say you believe Islam is a false religion. Say Christianity is the true religion of God. You’ll quickly see the true face of the New America liberals want to create.
The Almighty mentioned in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...”
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED SATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World...”
The Declaration ends with “...with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge dissent in the 1947 Supreme Court Case
In Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Wiley Blount Rutledge argued that:
"The funds used here were raised by taxation. The Court does not dispute nor could it that their use does in fact give aid and encouragement to religious instruction. It only concludes that this aid is not 'support' in law. But Madison and Jefferson were concerned with aid and support in fact not as a legal conclusion 'entangled in precedents.' Here parents pay money to send their children to parochial schools and funds raised by taxation are used to reimburse them. This not only helps the children to get to school and the parents to send them. It aids them in a substantial way to get the very thing which they are sent to the particular school to secure, namely, religious training and teaching." 330 U.S. 1, 45.
1. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875, Letter to Zabdiel Adams (21 June 1776) http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?hlaw:6:./temp/~ammem_p2ZD::
3. Robert Cord, Separation of Church and State: Historical Fact and Current Fiction (New York: Lambeth Press, 1982), p 13.)
4. The Limbaugh Letter, Jan. 2005
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.