“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.”
It is believed now that these words from the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment built a “wall of separation” between church and state and very few have ever questioned it.
Was the first amendment of the Constitution intended to provide a “wall of separation”? Is it really important, does it really matter and why?
The famous phrase was from the private letter written on New Year’s Day, 1802, by President Thomas Jefferson. Never had a private letter from a president ever been used to establish law and was taken completely out of context. If private letters are important, it should have been just as important to print the entire letter rather than just a part of it.
Thomas Jefferson was not part of the constitutional convention and rightly disqualified himself due to the slow communication from him to the American convention knowing it would take weeks. Although he did want the bill of rights, he never gave specific directions concerning it.
Joseph Storey, who sat on the Supreme court from 1811-1845 said:
“Probably at the time of the adoption of the first amendment , the general if not the universal sentiment in America was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions and make it a matter of state policy to hold all and utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation…”
John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813 wrote:
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I them believed, and now believe, that these general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God”
On November 7, 1801, the Danbury Baptists wrote to Jefferson to ask if their religious exercise was a government-granted or a God-granted right concerned that government would try to regulate their religious expression.
The letter reads:
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, gives me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in the proportion as they are persuaded my fidelity of those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith and worship, than the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and 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 the church and state. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscious, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I, assurances of my high respect and esteem.” reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common father and creator of man and tender you for yourselves and your religious association.
The First amendment was never intended to separate the church from the state other than to keep the government from involving itself in the affairs of the church. To truly understand if this was actually true, one needs to know more about our founding fathers and how they felt. It was important to them that when the Constitution with the Bill of rights was read that it was to be understood as it was when they wrote it.
According to “The writings of Thomas Jefferson,” Jefferson understood their concern and assured them the free exercise of religion was an unalienable right which would not be meddled with by the government. Jefferson pointed out that there was a “wall of separation of church and state” to ensure that the government would not interfere with the activities of the church.
Further evidence of this is a letter from Jefferson to Benjamin Rush when he wrote that he was against “the establishment of a particular form of Christianity”
Founding documents, quotes and state records including the records from June through September 1789 make it clear they wanted to follow God’s principles but not allow one (Christian) denomination to be superior to others.
In 1799, the U.S. Supreme court declared:
“By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing”
George Washington in 1799 said:
“If anyone attempted to separate religion and morality from politics, he couldn’t be called an American patriot”
In 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court manipulated Jefferson’s metaphor:
“In the words of Jefferson,” the justices declared, the First Amendment “erect[ed] ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … [that] must be kept high and impregnable.
We could not approve the slightest breach.”
This landmark ruling in Everson v. Board of Education had enormous repercussions for the role of religion in public life. The Court, it would seem, sought to legitimize its decision in this case by appealing to a giant figure in American history. The U.S. Supreme court’s manipulation may be the Court’s most celebrated use of history in contemporary jurisprudence. It is, in fact, a misuse of history because Jefferson’s “wall” misrepresents constitutional principles in several important ways.
First, Jefferson’s metaphor emphasizes separation between church and state—unlike the First Amendment, which speaks in terms of the non-establishment and free exercise of religion. Jefferson’s Baptist correspondents, who agitated for disestablishment (the elimination of an official “state church”) but not for separation, they were apparently disturbed by the figurative phrase. They, like many Americans, feared that the erection of a wall would separate religious influences from public life and policy. Few evangelical dissenters challenged the widespread assumption of the age that a self-governing people must be a moral people and that morals can be nurtured only by the Christian religion. They believed religion was an indispensable support for civic virtue and political prosperity, and its separation from public life necessarily imperiled social order and stability.
Second, a wall is a bilateral barrier that inhibits the activities of both the civil government and religion—unlike the First Amendment, which imposes restrictions on civil government only. Replacing the First Amendment with a wall unavoidably restrains religion, especially in its ability to influence public life, thereby exceeding the limitations imposed by the Constitution.
Third, having assumed the separation of church and state, the civil state (often acting through the judiciary) has then presumed to define what “religion” is and what are the appropriate realms, duties, and functions of the “church” in a civil society. This has given the civil state practical, de facto priority over the church, subjecting the latter to the jurisdiction of the former.
Originally a restriction on the civil government’s powers, the First Amendment has been reinterpreted to grant power to the government to define and, ultimately, restrict the place of religion in society. Herein lies the danger of this misinterpretation. Today people frequently invoke the “wall” to separate religion from public life, thereby promoting a religion that is essentially private and a civil state that is strictly secular.
The “high and impregnable” wall constructed by the modern Court inhibits religion’s ability to inform the public ethic, deprives religious citizens of the civil liberty to participate in politics armed with ideas informed by their spiritual values, and infringes the right of religious communities and institutions to extend their prophetic ministries into the public square. Jefferson’s figurative barrier has been used to silence the religious voice in the marketplace of ideas and to segregate faith communities behind a restrictive wall.
Those who criticize modern constructions of the wall are not necessarily supporting a religious establishment. Rather, these critics contend that the First Amendment requires that religion and religious perspectives must be allowed to compete in the public sphere, without government inhibition, on the same terms as their secular counterparts. By its very nature, however, a high wall does not permit this.
The use of Jefferson’s metaphoric wall to exclude religion from public life is at war with our cultural traditions insofar as it shows a callous indifference toward religion. It also offends basic notions of freedom of religious exercise, expression, and association in a pluralistic society. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s “high and impregnable” wall has redefined First Amendment principles, transforming a bulwark of religious liberty into an instrument of intolerance and censorship.
Ask yourself if there are any precedent court decision that lead to Everson V Board of Education which gave us Hugo Black's quoting of Jefferson "separation between the church and state?" There aren’t any previous court decisions so Black must have created it out of thin air.
If this is true then one must begin to think:
Why is there no separation between the press and the state....or the separation of speech and the state.....or the separation between assembly and state....why have they singled out only one of the freedoms listed in the 1st amendment when the entire first amendment is one continuous statement with a period appearing only at the end?
If the first amendment was a compound statement, Commas signify "and"
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, ( and) or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; (and) or abridging the freedom of speech, (and) or of the press; (and) or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The idea that religion was the only one of the interconnected inalienable first amendment rights that government can limit is ridiculous. Religion, speech, press, and assembly are all connected together in the 1st amendment. Congress cannot restrict them...and neither can the courts.
If each freedom was to stand equal and separate then the 1st amendment would read:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the press. Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble. Congress shall make no law restricting the right of the people to petition the government for a redress.
America is in a crisis of biblical proportions on so many levels it would be difficult to say, for many, which was most important.
In my opinion it is our removal of God from every facet of society that has attributed to the decline of our moral, political, social, and economic foundations. The removal, I believe, is from the generations of ignorance, laziness and lack of continual education, from a young age, on the Word of God and the history of this country and the rest of the world.
The myth of the separation of church and state is just one of the many examples of the lies we have been fed by our government trying to change who we are and where we came from.
Quotes and writings from our founding fathers, Supreme Court justices and many others all through history will confirm very quickly the importance of God in our lives both morally and politically. One has only to read briefly to realize this and those who believe otherwise never have taken the time.
Hopefully this entry will encourage you to look into the other lies in the textbooks of Science, History and English and see that they are all being re-written every few years to change the history of who we are and where we came from.
“A county that does not know where it came from does not know where it is going”
Thomas Payne and others