i think godlessness has trumped common horse sense in our beloved country. extremists have gone so far as to say a prayer before an athletic event violates the separation of church and state, or in some cases that it violates the constitution. really?
having still retained a measure of my intellectual curiosity i did some reading and discovered some things it doesn’t take a harvard law degree to understand.
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.
hmm. isn’t this the opposite of the reason usually given to get god out of the workplace or public places? congress has made no law with respect to establishing any religion. neither has the congress made a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, but you would think they have.
so far, no justification for appealing to the constitution for keeping someone from praying or displaying a cross on private land beside a rural highway.
thomas jefferson’s explanation
mr. jefferson, in a letter to the danbury baptists in 1802 expressed his understanding of the above amendment.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
wow! what an eye opener! mr. jefferson made it very clear. it was the PEOPLE, not the government, who declared that a “wall of separation” should be between church and state. the sole purpose was to insure the government would not interfere with their thoughts about religion, their faith, their worship, or however else they expressed their religious convictions. thomas jefferson had it exactly right.
there was a very real fear, in our early years especially, that the government would repeat the horrible mistakes of the oppressive government our forefathers fled. almost all of them in the beginning immigrated because they did not want to bend the knee to the state church the british had enshrined as “the church”. our best and brightest minds have reached conclusions exactly opposite of the intended purpose of the establishment clause.
introduction to the declaration of independence
thomas jefferson and benjamin franklin wrote these words.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Though Jefferson was at best a deist, not a Christian, (i don’t know about franklin), what is clear is that they recognized deity (Nature’s God) and that this deity entitled people to their stations in life.
it is my opinion that it may well have been providential that jesus Christ was never mentioned in the founding documents. god never intended people to live in a theocracy on this earth until jesus personally rules his kingdom and sin with all its evil is no more.
that many of our founding fathers were deeply devoted to jesus, god, and the bible is clear. as i mentioned, many of our forefathers preferred simple faith in god rather than the rules and rituals of the state established church in england.
the separation of church and state is very real. it’s meaning and purpose however is the exact opposite of the way it has been understood and enforced in the last several decades. in appealing to the separation of church and state federal, state, and local jurisdictions have done the exact thing the first amendment forbids. americans should revolt, but not on the basis of christianity but rather on the basis of the constitution.
unless every one who worships some god other than my god is protected by the law of the land against government interference, i will have no religious liberty. god forbid that we would ever have government establish religion and god forbid we would ever live in an america where every citizen is not completely free to worship according to the convictions of his own heart.