Separation of Church & State
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
The 1st Amendment is the first part of an amended clause to the U.S. Constitution, called ‘The Bill of Rights’. This document was added as a protection for American citizens from the government intruding too closely in their personal affairs. The first 10 amendments are what we refer to as the Bill of Rights.
The 1st Amendment is often referred to as the Establishment Clause. It has only been called that in recent years. In the 1800’s it was often referred to as the Religious Freedom amendment.
The Phrase “Separation of Church & State is quoted as being part of the first amendment which forbids anything that has to do with religion to stay out of the public classrooms, but was that the purpose of the Founding Fathers? What was the real design for the first amendment?
Purpose for the First Amendment
In 1789 when the Bill of rights was being written, Fisher Ames was responsible of writing the language of the first Amendment. What’s amazing is that he never intended it to mean that religion was ever to be prohibited from the public schools. Years later he is quoted as saying “Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples, captivating and noble. In no book is there so good English, so same book, they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith.”
The First Amendment was designed so that there would be no national church of the United States. The Founding Fathers saw what it did to England and wanted no part of it. Further proof of this is George Mason, the “Father of the Bill of Rights” who proposed that the wording should be “that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.”
Another proposal was from James Madison, who was considered “The Father of the Constitution”. He suggested that the wording should be: “nor shall any national religion be established.” For over 150 years after the First Amendment was written, public schools all over the country taught from the Bible, prayed, gave out Bibles, had ministers come and give weekly sermons. What caused this to cease? The answer: The Separation of Church & State.
Where did the term “Separation of Church & State (SCS)” come from?
Many today believe that the Constitution specially says that, even lawyers who were supposed to study the document during their preparation for the bar exam, only to find out years later that it is not there. The term was first used by President Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Conn. These men were concerned about the threat of losing their freedom of religion, so they wrote the man who wrote the words to the Declaration of Independence, the same man who helped James Madison with the Constitution.
Jefferson said that the wall of separation was intended for the principals of Christianity to influence the government, but that the government would not be able to influence the church. Further proof of this is found that Jefferson instituted a school program in Washington D.C. that featured the Bible and Isaac Watts Hymnal as the two primary textbooks. This was done over a decade after the 1st Amendment was written!
Let’s not forget that it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence which included such words as “Laws of nature and of nature’s God”, “Creator”, “Supreme Judge of the world”, and “Divine Providence”!
When a national seal was suggested for the United States, Jefferson proposed “The children of Israel in the wilderness, led by a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night”. This was to be the official government seal for our nation! Where was ‘separation of church and state’ in that proposal?
When was SCS first used?
In 1878 there was a case called ‘Reynolds vs. United States’. In this case, polygamy was condemned by the courts. The argument was that the government was interfering with religious expression. In other words, the U.S. government had no right to prohibit polygamy since it was a form of religious expression by a certain group.
The court did not agree, and referred Thomas Jefferson’s letter as proof that the 1st Amendment did allow the government to interfere when religious expression violated social order and subverted moral behavior. Here they quoted President Jefferson’s letter in its entirety.It was understood that the government could only interfere when overt acts against peace and good order were occurring. In other words, such things as human sacrifice and polygamy could not “hide” under the pretense of religious freedom.
The term SCS was not used again until 1947 in “Emerson vs Board of Education”. The court for the first time in U.S. History reinterpreted the phrase to mean that religion can no longer be in the classroom. Dr William James who is considered the Father of Modern Psychology said “There is nothing so absurd but that if you repeat it long enough and often enough people will believe it”.
Years later, the dissenting judge in Baer vs. Kohmorgan (1958) said that continuing to talk about SCS would make the people think it was part of the Constitution.
We have already seen that the founding fathers, and the entire nation never dreamed that a future generation would twist the meaning of the 1st Amendment so that it would be used to remove the freedom of religious expressions such as prayer, Bible reading, etc. from public schools. It is obvious that they encouraged such things.
Justice Joseph Story who served for 34 years on the U.S. Supreme Court was noted in the following:
• His father was one of the Indians at the Boston Tea Party.
• He was the founder of Harvard Law School.
• He is called the Father of American Jurisprudence
Story had this to say concerning the first amendment: “The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity: But to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects”.
Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, William Rehnquist said: “There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the framers intended to build a wall of separation” He also said: “ - - the greatest injury of the “wall” notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights - - - The “wall of separation between church and State” is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned.”
In regard to the three branches of government: the Founding Fathers considered the judicial branch as the least. Their job was to enforce the laws that were made by the other two. In the last sixty years, the U.S. Supreme court has over turned the most important freedom our country has ever had: the Freedom of Religion within Christianity, not from it. The major problems that we see in our schools, our homes, and our government are a direct result of the decisions that were made and not challenged in the early part of the 1960’s.
When prayer, Bible reading, the Ten Commandments and Creation were taken out of our schools one needs to ask the question: How did they get there in the first place? Let the reader look to our past and see for themselves what was being taught in our schools before 1960. Religion was the first and most important of the amendments our Founding Fathers held to protect. Don’t let it be destroyed.
You may be reading this and you have never answered the most important question in your life and that is …
How does anyone get to heaven?
First realize that they cannot get to heaven on their own merits. The Bible says that “For all have sinned and come short (that means everybody can’t get to Heaven on their own) of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ (who is the Son of the living God) came to earth and was born of a virgin woman (therefore he was not born of the curse of mankind) he lived a sinless life and died on a cross for all the sins in the world. Three days later, God the Father raised Him from the dead. He was seen of 500 witnesses and returned to heaven. God’s word says that if we believe these things and call upon the Lord, we will be saved. Romans 10:9 - 13