Last week we celebrated 243 years of independence from Britain. Declaring, securing and maintaining our independence and liberty has cost the United States citizens tens of thousands of lives. Today the struggle for maintaining our liberties continues.
One of the most important freedoms we have is the freedom of religion which has been hijacked by a misleading metaphor described by Justice William Rehnquist as: “Separation of Church and State.”
This false idea came from a personal letter from the newly elected president, Thomas Jefferson, to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. The church wanted assurance that the purpose of the First Amendment would not allow the Federal Government to establish a particular form of Christianity, such as Congregationalists, Episcopalians and so on. (T. Jefferson)
He made several clear statements regarding the inability of the government to regulate, restrict, or interfere with religious expression. For example: “[N]o power over the freedom of religion. . . [is]delegated to the United States by the constitution. Kentucky resolution 1798.” (Original Intent, by; David Barton p. 38). He goes on to explain the American people made it clear 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.
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The government’s role was simply to protect one’s freedom to worship and exercise their religion, not to prevent, prohibit or interfere with those expressions. The court clearly summarized Jefferson’s intent for “Separation of Church and State” as follows: [T]he rightful purposes of civil government are for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In th[is] …is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.” (Original Intent, p. 41).
The court went on to identify what actions the government could legitimately interfere with if done in the name of religion: “human sacrifice, polygamy, bigamy, concubinage, incest, infanticide, parricide, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc.” (ibid). Therefore, the government was never to interfere with traditional religious practices outlined in the “Books of the Law and the Gospel”, including public prayer, reading of scripture and the like.
By ripping a short phrase out to context and using a personal letter and no other writings or rulings to support the current use of Separation of Church and State, those against religious freedom and in particular Christianity continue to make great strides in eradicating our Christian heritage and religious freedom. The freedom of religion is our right that comes from God, not man. Let us pray and work to ensure our First Amendment rights for our children and grandchildren’s sake.