What the “separation of church and state” really means.
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For some reason, Americans believe there is a legal requirement to separate church and state in the US Constitution. It is now commonly believed organized religion has no business in the workings of the state. The reality is, there is no such stipulation whatsoever in the Constitution. There is only a couple of references to religion in our governing documents. The first is in Article 6 of the Constitution whereby “…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The second reference is in Amendment One of the Bill of Rights whereby, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” I cannot speak for the governing documents of the various states and territories, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, that is all there is pertaining to religion.
So where does this presumption of separation come from? Two places: other countries who embrace such a concept, but more importantly in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists regarding the 1st amendment. Jefferson was president at the time and well known as author of the Declaration of Independence (but not the Constitution; that was Madison). In the letter, Jefferson wrote:
“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.”
By this letter to the Baptists, Jefferson meant that the United States would not establish a national church. This letter greatly influenced Supreme Court decisions. Keep in mind, Jefferson is speaking on another matter altogether and he is writing as president, not as a justice of the Supreme Court who should rightfully interpret the separation issue. However, for some strange reason, the letter was used to define the separation issue. In Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947, the Supreme Court used a portion of the letter (eight words only) and interpreted it to mean, “The First Amendment has erected ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’ That wall must be kept high and impregnable.” How they came to this conclusion mystifies Constitutional scholars to this day. It is interesting the Supreme Court based its conclusion on an interpretation of a letter, not the Constitution itself.
Based on this Supreme Court decision, atheists and attorneys have used this as a means to drive God out of our country. Today, we hear of football teams prohibited from saying a nondenominational prayer before or after a game, Christmas trees have been banned from schools, students are being suspended for saying “bless you” after hearing someone sneeze, there are movements to remove anything pertaining to God out of government buildings, and there is even an attack on our national motto, “In God we Trust.”
Not long ago we heard about a movement by atheists to remove Gideon Bibles from Navy lodges. These Bibles were provided for the comfort of sailors staying at the lodges. The removal of the Bibles created a furor when it was reported in the press. So much so, the Navy ordered the Gideon Bibles returned back into the lodge rooms.
Make no mistake, Christianity is under attack here, not Judaism, Islam, or even witchcraft, and it appears to be a concerted effort. Some contend it is intended to undermine the country as Christianity played an important role in the founding of America. Whatever the reason, we must beware of such attacks and be prepared to repel them,
If by some chance, our opponents are successful in eradicating God in the federal government, I am one of those who believe all federal employees should work on Christmas Day, particularly postal workers.
Is there really a separation of church and state in the Constitution? No, but it will be necessary to bring a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to overturn their 1947 misinterpretation.
I pray we do not become a Godless country. Without God, the country will fall.
Keep the Faith!
P.S. – Even Sky Masterson read the Gideon Bible, as did Rocky Raccoon.