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Posted September 14, 2012 | comments 18 Comments

Letter to the Editor: Don't remove 'under God' from personal, civic lives

Gene Rigelon should study the Constitution before he inaccurately quotes it. In a guest column in the Northern Virginia Daily on Aug. 29, Rigelon discussed the constitutionally guaranteed right to "...separation of church and state." Please, tell us where in the Constitution or First Amendment we can find that phrase? The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution or the First Amendment. The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

For me, that means if Catholics don't want contraceptives forced upon them, the government should not do so. If a memorial to soldiers killed during WWI is in the shape of a cross and is on federal land, the government shouldn't force its removal.

Also, I hope you are not among liberals protesting the phrase "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance under the guise of separation of church and state. If they are protesting to prove they can; point acknowledged. If they are protesting to prove their children have the right not to say "under God," then my children have the right to say it.

Actually, the phrase was added to highlight America's exceptionalism. According to Wikipedia, on Feb. 7, 1954, some American presidents honored Lincoln's birthday by attending services at the church Lincoln attended. The church's pastor delivered a sermon based on the Gettysburg Address. He argued the nation's might lay not in arms but in its spirit and higher purpose. He cited Lincoln's words "under God" as defining words that set the United States apart from other nations.

President Eisenhower acted on the pastor's suggestion. Congress passed legislation and he signed the bill with the phrase "under God" into law June 14, 1954.

The protestors are renouncing the principles and beliefs of the American people of that era voiced by Eisenhower and the Congress. I think Americans still retain those principles and beliefs today. Please, Mr. Rigelon, get your facts correct. Stop attacking the fabric of this nation. You and others are not improving it by removing the concept of God from our personal, business and civic lives.

Fred Hughes, Woodstock

18 Comments | Leave a comment

    Separation of church and state in the United States, according to Wikipedia:

    "Separation of church and state" (sometimes "wall of separation between church and state") is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson (in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists) and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The phrase has since been repeatedly cited by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." The modern concept of a wholly secular government is sometimes credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase "separation of church and state" in this context is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of "[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world"— Jefferson wrote, "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."[1]

    Jefferson's metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Reynolds v. United States (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment." In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."[2]
    ____________________

    Politics are overflowing with religious fanatics, especially around election time and the separation of church & state is more important than ever: Thomas Jefferson was a very intelligent and WISE man.

    Jefferson never described a "wall" between church and state.

    His "separation" was in regard to any "established" church by the government.

    His point of referrence was the Church of England and the Lutheran Church in Germany -- both established churches -- hence, the Establishment Clause as proscription against one here.

    Everything since -- correctly or not -- is an extrapolation of this fundamental.

      DF: His "separation" was in regard to any "established" church by the government."

      Jefferson was active in the Episcopal Church and openly rejected orthodox Christianity, he was described as "hostile" to the Catholic Church. Part of a private letter to Benjamin Rush, Jefferson refers to himself as "Christian" (1803): "To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence..." In a letter to his close friend William Short, Jefferson clarified, "it is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being."
      Jefferson praised the morality of Jesus and edited a compilation of his teachings, omitting the miracles and supernatural elements of the biblical account, titling it The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Jefferson was firmly anticlerical saying that in "every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot...they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes."
      Jefferson rejected the idea of immaterial beings and considered the idea of an immaterial Creator a heresy introduced into Christianity. In a letter to John Adams, Jefferson wrote that to "talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. . . . At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But a heresy it certainly is. Jesus taught nothing of it. He told us indeed that 'God is a spirit,' but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that it is not matter. And the ancient fathers generally, if not universally, held it to be matter: light and thin indeed, an etherial gas; but still matter."
      In 1777, Jefferson drafted Virginia's An Act of Establishing Religious Freedom. Submitted in 1779, the Act was finally ratified in 1786 by the Virginia legislature. The Act forbid that men be forcibly compelled to attend or donate money to religious establishments, and that men "shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion." Jefferson initially supported restrictions banning clergy from holding public office, however, later in life he changed this view believing the clergy had the same rights as others to hold public office.

      “Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights." ~ Thomas Jefferson

      BTW, highly recommend 'John Adams' (HBO Series); very well done. (NetFlix DVDs.)

    Wow Mr. Hughes, methinks thou protesteth to much. If you had read my column with even a modicum of objectivity you would have concluded that I do not wish to remove God from your personal lives. To the contrary as I stated, I am a firm believer of religious freedom. You are free to persue the religion of your choice as long as you keep it where it belongs, in your home, your church and your schools. As for the first amendment I refer to the comments from Diane on this page. She has made the case much better than I can. Where in your heaven’s name do you get the idea that I would force Catholics to use contraceptives? On the other hand why do you think that women who cannot afford them be denied using them simply they because they work for a Catholic institution who by the way benefit hugely from government grants. As far as American values are concerned I reject your implication that I and others are “renouncing the principals and beliefs of the American people.” Those of us who support the separation, including the liberal/moderate religious community, are upholding them much better than you and your religious counter parts. If you had read my various comments on the religious views in this country you see that I am a firm advocate of seeking common ground between the religious and the secular communities to work diligently for social justice for the working class. Get your facts correct!

    As for the Flathers' comment , I'll take the Justice Black's interpretation of the first amendment over his any day.

    DF, Correct me if I am mistaken; however, many non-profits petition the government for funds and all, in effect, receive government finds in the form of tax breaks, correct? Example:

    BBB - Catholic Charities

    Chief Executive : Rev. Larry Snyder, President
    Compensation*: Did not provide

    *2009 compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts, and other allowances. Although requested, CCUSA did not provide its CEO's compensation.

    The following information is based on CCUSA's audited financial statements (consolidated with affiliates) for the year ended December 31, 2009.

    Source of Funds
    Federal contracts 10,234,088
    Contributions 8,845,293
    Investment income 2,972,461
    Federal grants 1,897,513
    Membership dues 1,493,345
    1731 King Street LLC rental 620,730
    Other revenue 298,384
    Registration and workshop fees 222,731
    Publications 205
    Total Income $26,584,750

    Considering Federal contracts and Federal grants, what portion of this non-profit operates with taxpayer funds? By my calculations, almost half. Catholic Charities does amazing things; take away government funds, however, and it could not!!!! Just like Planned Parenthood!!!!


    Well, since we're using our founding fathers as the means to understand the constitution (which is wholly right to do) I agree with the understandings that the government should not create a church state, not that God should not be in our government...I'd also like to state that our founding fathers made clear in their writings that an armed citizenry was not for the purpose of hunting but for the purpose of being able to defend themselves against an out of control government desiring to usurp its power (Patriot Act, NDAA ring any bells?) ...Also the Father of the Constitution, James Madison, made it very clear that the statement "general welfare" was not to include the government giving education, medical care, etc. etc. Since I know the inevitable tin foil hat and TEA party disparaging remarks are being formed in the heads of the mindless libs here (not all libs, just the mindless ones, you know who you are...) I will post a few to let the father's speak for themselves...

    "If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare,and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare,
    they may take the care of religion into their own hands;
    they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish
    and pay them out of their public treasury;
    they may take into their own hands the education of children,
    establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union;
    they may assume the provision of the poor;
    they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads;
    in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation
    down to the most minute object of police,
    would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power
    of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for,
    it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature
    of the limited Government established by the people of America." -- James Madison

    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason

    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
    Thomas Jefferson
    to James Madison

    Noah Webster

    (The father of public education in America)

    He declared government was responsible to:

    "Discipline our youth in early life in sound maxims of moral, political, and religious duties."

    "Education is useless without the Bible."

    "The Bible was America's basic text book in all fields."

    "God's Word, contained in the Bible, has fumished all necessary rules to direct our conduct."

    "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed....No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."

    "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." --James Madison

    I could go on, copying and pasting (which I know is an annoyance, but hey people here do it all the time). I'm not saying that we should force people to any religion. The bible is clear that Christians are not to judge those in the world only those within the church...BUT our founding fathers (whether they be strong Christians or not) believed that the fundamental teachings of the Christian religion were the basis for our Constitution and our land. Is it any wonder that we are falling, even as Rome did: rotting from the inside out.

    I'll leave you with a quote from John Adams:
    "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

      Kim, For you....

      Daniel Webster, American politician and noted orator, 1782-1852

      “I believe that the Bible is to be understood and received in the plain and obvious meaning of its passages; for I cannot persuade myself that a book intended for the instruction and conversion of the whole world should cover its true meaning in any such mystery and doubt that none but critics and philosophers can discover it. Education is useless without the Bible.”

      Could not find: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

      http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p="We+have+no+government+armed+with+power+capable+of+contending+with+human+passions+unbridled+by+morality+and+religion.+Avarice%2C+ambition%2C+revenge%2C+or+gallantry%2C+would+break+the+strongest+cords+of+our

      According to his biographer David McCullough, "as his family and friends knew, Adams was both a devout Christian, and an independent thinker". Adams was educated at Harvard when the influence of deism was growing there, and sometimes used deistic terms in his speeches and writing In common with many of his Protestant contemporaries, Adams criticized the claims to universal authority made by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1796, Adams denounced political opponent Thomas Paine's criticisms of Christianity in his Deist book The Age of Reason, saying, "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard Paine say what he will." (wiki)

      The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles? -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815

      As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? -- John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816

      Cabalistic Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1,500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires. -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 16, 1814, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?
      -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 19, 1821, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      The Church of Rome has made it an article of faith that no man can be saved out of their church, and all other religious sects approach this dreadful opinion in proportion to their ignorance, and the influence of ignorant or wicked priests.
      -- John Adams, Diary and Autobiography

      Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. ~ John Adams, Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials (4 December 1770).

      There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. ~ John Adams, Letter to Jonathan Jackson (2 October 1780), "The Works of John Adams"

    Jane, your quotes make my point completely. People can take bits and pieces to make things mean whatever they want them to. But if you are going to use part of them then you must accept all of them. The founders believed that our rights came from God. They believed that when man destroys God so will go our government. The constitution specifically limited the control of government in our lives because of the abuses of the church rulers. They never meant for us to leave God out of government, which is why the 10 commandments (including the ones about God) are the basis of our Constititution. And personally after the ones about God I would say the 10th commandment is the sin of all others and that is thou shall not covet. Because people in this country covet the wealth of those who have done better (within or without the system) they want to take it for themselves. If only the government would enforce the laws on the books there would be no need for new regulations. If you think about it, what our government has done over the past 100 years is make more and more regulations so that they can pick and choose which ones to enforce and when. Whether it is George Bush or Bill Clinton or our esteemed Dictator in Chief Obama the whole goal is to control the people...and they have done that by completely destroy our belief in ANYTHING. Be it God or government or science or the law. No one trusts those above them. That opens the door to societal breakdown. Our president and his party have "killed" God, which is good for people like Mr. Rigeleon but bad for America. It never ceases to amaze me how Athiests are all about freedom except for Christians right to freedom. If most people in the town want a Christmas tree or a manger scene or if most of a school wants a graduation prayer why not? Why doesn't the majority rule there? If a town was mostly Jewish or Muslim or Athiest and they wanted a prayer to their god (athiest being the god of self and science--both of which are religions in their own rights) I would quietly pray to my God and ignore their prayer, because that is our country's law. My husband happens to not be a christian and doesn't care whether or not someone prays or believes what they want. He thinks we're all crazy. Big deal...but for now; for our Constitution to work it must be based upon moral men. I don't see many in power (either Republican or Democrat). Unless we can come together and quit the blame game nothing will be done. We have to fix the mistakes of the past no matter who's responsible for what. And that is why we're doomed.

      Kim and DF:
      Kim: "They never meant for us to leave God out of government, which is why the 10 commandments (including the ones about God) are the basis of our Constititution." WHAT?

      "Separation of church and state" (sometimes "wall of separation between church and state") is a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson (in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists) and others expressing an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The phrase has since been repeatedly cited by the Supreme Court of the United States.

      This is a transcript of the final letter as stored online at the Library of Congress, and reflects Jefferson's spelling and punctuation.

      Mr. President

      To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.

      Gentlemen

      The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

      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. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] 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.

      I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association assurances of my high respect & esteem.

      (signed) Thomas Jefferson
      Jan.1.1802.

      The Bishop definition of atheist is incorrect for ignorantly defining it as a religion unto itself as a religion of self.

      Here is the point, a working definition, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, open mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically; the disagreement between Professor Stephen Jay Gould and Professor Richard Dawkins, concerning "punctuated evolution" and the unfilled gaps in post Darwinian theory, is quite wide as well as quite deep, but we shall resolve it by evidence and reasoning and not by mutual excommunication.

      There is no need for us to gather every day, or every seven days, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness. We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine. Sacrifices and ceremonies are abhorrent to us, as are relics and the worship of any images or objects (even including objects in the form of one of man's most useful innovations: the bound book). To us no spot on earth is or could be "holier" than another: to the ostentatious absurdity of the pilgrimage, or the plain horror of killing civilians in the name of some sacred wall or cave or shrine or rock, we can counter pose a leisurely or urgent walk from one side of the library or the gallery to another, or to lunch with an agreeable friend, in pursuit of truth or beauty.

      Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago: either that or it mutated into an admirable but nebulous humanism. We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness.

      Religion poisons everything.

    I think the most important fact that people forget is that we are the "United" States of America. Not "this particular religion" States of America. You can argue all day and night what the intent of the founders was, the Supreme Court has had its say. The Freedom of Religion is not granted to any one specific religion, if they had intended that then the Constitution would read as such. They would have specified "Christianity" or whatever religion of choice, but they didn't and by its wording, I'm sure that was intentional. Majority doesn't give anyone the right to trample on the constitutional rights of another. The role of Government is to serve ALL the people, not any one group. Courthouses, Public Schools, anything else tax payer funded has to serves ALL the tax payers. If you want religious teachings and prayers catered to your beliefs at your child's school, then send them to a private school ran by the religion of your choice funded by that religion. If you want religious exemption as a public service ie:hospital, then only hire and serve those that adhere to your religion strictly and its funding should only be by followers of said religion. You don't get to cherry pick when its what you happen to agree with, that's not freedom. That never has and never will be America's stance. As much as anyone has solid faith in their religion of choice, guess what? someone else has that same solid faith in theirs and in America, we ALL have that freedom to. Not just one group because it may be larger.

    Which goes into the removal of God from personal lives. The Government nor anyone should be able to shake your personal beliefs if you have faith. Whether or not everyone else in the whole world agrees with you and throws up the propaganda in everything, everywhere shouldn't matter if you have faith. Faith is what says I cant see it, touch it, or prove it, but I believe it. If you need to be constantly told it to believe, then you are simply being brainwashed and have no faith to begin with. Faith doesn't come from a pledge to a flag or a manger scene or a cross planted somewhere, it comes from an unshakable belief inside yourself. Its not the Governments job to provide that or force that upon anyone. Its their job to ensure that everyone has the choice to place that faith where they so choose, nothing more.

    Well said Katybug. The first amendment does exactly that. The idea that Obama has "killed religion" is ridiculous. Anyone who thinks so is simply delusional. Religion flourishes in this country because of the wall of separation not in spite of it.

    KIM: "people in this country covet the wealth of those who have done better..."

    Kim, Are you speaking of yourself? I have not heard anyone bemoaning others' honest success. My husband and I recently returned from a VA/CA/VA road trip..ten days round trip plus some stops. We came in contact with many, many people, i.e., travelers from all walks of life, holiday, moving, in hotels, restaurants...not once did we encounter anyone who seems to covet others. And something which may surprise you, in those 6,000 plus miles we traveled via interstates and through towns and cities, we rarely saw old clunkers on the road...Eightly percent of the hotels in which we stayed had almost full occupancy. In fact, we arrived in Little Rock AK circa 4PM to find that our room was not ready because the hotel had been fully booked. Yosemite was full and Reno was packed.

    Look around when you venture outside to the cars on I80 or 11; how many times do you see old clunkers on the road? How many times have you gone into Food Lion, Martins, etc. and actually observed people paying with food stamps? Every tenth person? Or rarely?

    Are there lazy people in this country who want handouts? You bet. Are the Ken Lays of the world better people? In your life have you ever seen something someone else owns and secretly wished for it. My grandmother used to say 'Oh, I wish I had that and she had something better."

    You say "And that is why we're doomed." I read that and thank God I don't live in your head. How sad.

    Maybe you should start reciting this....

    Dear God, Today I woke up. I am healthy. I am alive. Thank You.

    The US is going through a rough time as is many EU countries. To expect a financial crisis that has been almost a decade in the making to be repaired or mended in four years is insane.

    Universal health care. When 32 of the 33 developed countries has had Universal Health Care for many years, why do you hate so much the US providing it to all our citizens? To me it see,s the Christian think to do!

    To me it see,s the Christian think to do!

    Okay...fingers are not cooperating with my brain this late!!!!

    To me it seems like the CHRISTIAN thing to do!

    Good night,


    Here I repeat my post from March 23, 2012, reposted on April 6, 2012, and reposted July 14, 2012.

    “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, 1960 speech.

    Why is the metaphorical phrase "separation of church and state" so widely used in America and why do religious zealots, the obvious beneficiaries of this doctrine, object so strenuously?

    The separation of church and state is the mandate that religious zealots have the biggest problem obeying. The EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question and separation of church and state advocates are not required to re-prove the origination of the doctrine separating church and state every time it is discussed. However, I choose to confront this propaganda anytime this doctrine's validity is challenged.

    I'll reference four sources to show how the phrase "separation of church and state" came into existence and why it has become the controlling language in many court decisions as well as everyday language
    .
    1) The First Amendment to the United States Constitution which provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

    This is the foundation for the separation of church and state doctrine that has become the daily metaphor for a wall between church and state. So where, you must be asking yourself, in the Constitution does it say anything about separation of church and state? As we all know, it doesn't, so where does it come from?

    The First Amendment is the foundational document. From the foundation, here is where the path leads:

    2) Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The original text reads: "... 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 and State."

    3) The U.S. Supreme Court, in Reynolds v. United States (1879), wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment."

    4) In the U.S. Supreme Court decision Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), both Justice Hugo Black's majority opinion and Justice Wiley Rutledge's minority opinion both defined the First Amendment religious clause in terms of a "wall of separation between church and state". Justice Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."

    I am told many U.S. Supreme Court decisions after Everson v. Board of Education routinely and repeatedly reuse the phrase.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

    Mr. Rigelon, I am not a religious zealot and do not attend church. Nor do I think I misunderstood your message. Those who advocate separation most often want any aspect of religion out of every part of our lives except home and church. I believe that is an incorrect interpretation of the First Amendment.

    The foundation that jockstrap describes came about from court rulings by revisionist jurists who were dissatisfied with traditional interpretations. The founders wanted a state free of religious authority, not necessarily free of religious influence.


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