Separation of Church and State

Over time the meaning of words have come to know a different meaning than their original intent. The word "gay" for example thirty years ago meant "happiness", but today has a completely different meaning. The same thing has happened with the phrase "separation of church and state."

Did you know that the words "Separation of Church and State are NOT FOUND in any American Founding Document?

"[In] the Congressional Records from June 7th through September 25th, 1789 (when they framed the first amendment) the founders explained clearly and succinctly that all they wanted to preclude what they had experienced in Great Britain. They did not want the establishment by the Federal Government of one single domination and the exclusion of all others. There is not going to be, by government decree, one national denomination in America. This is why the wording in the first amendment prevents Congress from the establishment of religion, or in the words proposed by James Madison, the chief architect of the constitution, "the establishment of a national religion."[1]

The First Amendment denied Congress the power of establishing any particular religion or restricting the free exercise of any religion. The people and statesmen who gave us the First Amendment did not want a union of church and state in the sense of a national established church. But neither did they want to divorce Christianity from our national counsels, fundamental law, or laws made pursuant to the Constitution. ...they wanted a separation of church and state without a separation of Christianity and civil government, law or public life.[2]

The Separation of Church and State never meant to separate God from government — Chief Justice Roy Moore, Alabama[3]

"No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint, and each is permitted to worship his maker after his own judgment. The offices of government are open alike to all. The Mohammedan, if he will come to live among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political institutions." — John Tyler, 10th President of the US[4]

I find it amazing that most people don't know the original intent of the Founders...they are probably turning over in their graves of how far we have gotten away from the Judean/Christian principles that guided inspired men to sign their death warrant, as an act of treason, to the Declaration of Independence to be followed by the Constitution of the United States with the First Amendment securing our religious freedom. There is a movement growing that is trying to erradicate religion and God from everything that made this country what it is today. If that day ever comes, may God help us all.

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[1] 1992 Video "Separation of Church and State," Wallbuilders, Inc., PO Box 397, Aledo, TX 76008

[2] Reclaiming the Lost Legacy, various authors, Coral ridge Ministries, 2001 (P O Box 555, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302)

[3] Coral Ridge Hour, TV Program, 10/14/2001

[4] "Our 'noble experiment' is being tested," Terry Eastland, Dallas Morning News, 11/5/2001

1 comment:

Doug Indeap said...

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of "We the people" (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

That the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation--in those very words--of the founders' intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

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