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Separation of Church and State – what it is and what Thomas Jefferson meant it to be.

July 4, 2012

First, I want to wish my readers a Happy Independence Day.  I am proud and grateful to live in America, which I still believe is the greatest nation on earth.  However, I have to believe that the margin is narrowing.  One of the biggest reasons is the “separation of church and state” movement over the last few decades.

Where does “separation of church and state” come from?

Separation of church and state comes from a quote by Thomas Jefferson.  The words most frequently quoted are “a wall of separation between church and state.”   There is no context given; these words are used in our day as a fully complete idea in and of themselves.  There is some debate as to whether he also wrote a phrase protecting the church from the government.  In my research, I couldn’t find anything that looked conclusive to indicate that he did.

What has been done with “separation of church and state?”

“Separation of church and state” has been used to declare unconstitutional many of the beliefs of other founders of the United States.

George Washington once prayed,

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country.”

In the case of Engle v. Vitale in 1962 this prayer was found to be unconstitutional and this ruling, combined with successive rulings based on its precedent, was used to ban prayer from our schools.  At the time of these rulings, the Court found that only three percent of the nation professed no belief in religion.  Yet they chose to side with the three percent over the ninety-seven percent.

From this “auspicious” beginning things have continued to the present state in which it is illegal to display the Ten Commandments in courtrooms, illegal to mention God in and school or government function, and, in some parts of America, illegal for students to use their Bibles in class.

Opinions of other “Founding Fathers” on “separation of church and state.”

John Adams (second president of the United States)

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people… it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

James Madison (fourth president of the United States, hailed as the “Father of the Constitution”)

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it.  We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Patrick Henry (first and sixth governor of Virginia, famous for his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech)

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

Benjamin Franklin (leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat; known as The First American for his efforts in promoting unity among the colonies.)

“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of men.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

Should we have “separation of church and state?”

While I cannot and will not tell you what you should believe, I also cannot deny that our forefathers placed great value in a Biblical view of life and Christian morality and ethics.  In light of these facts, I believe that “separation of church and state” has been carried much farther than was intended by the founders of our great nation.

While I agree that there shouldn’t be an established government church or religion, I cannot believe that you can keep any person’s religious beliefs out of their actions – whether it be the garbage man or the president of the United States.

Therefore, whether construed to be constitutional or not, I must believe that the current application of “separation of church and state” is far from what was intended, and is actually detrimental to my United Stated of America.

Thanks for reading my deliberations,



From → Politics

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