Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Chruch and State

How many times have you heard the “separation of church and state clause” mentioned in regard to the US Constitution by people who have been offended by the word God or some other reference to religion in the public arena? I hear it all the time. Most recently national atheist organizations are up in arms because the President and the Governor of Louisiana have asked Americans to pray for hurricane victims, of whom very few are atheists. Military chaplains carrying Bibles into the devastation that once was New Orleans also offends them.

I am here to clarify exactly what this supposedly vague clause says and question how it has been applied but first I have another question. We are in a time of national crisis. Many people have lost everything including their lives. An entire city has been wiped out, yet there are still Americans who have the energy, time and gumption to jump up and down because someone referred to a God they don’t believe in. I say grow up! Is this what we have become? These people have the luxury of being offended while tens of thousands suffer. Well, I hope the mention of God does cause them a little angst because they are obviously too comfortable for it to be healthy. Now, back to the Constitution.

The First Amendment of the constitution states:

“Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

There you have it. “Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Any questions? The phrase, "separation of church and state" is not even written in the Constitution. How did such a clear statement get twisted into a means of purging the US of religion? The framers of the Constitution made their position perfectly clear. They said what they meant; it does not need to be “interpreted”. After reading the entire Constitution and Declaration of Independence one will quickly realize that the Founding Fathers felt God was important to the new country. In fact, they felt so strongly about this they wanted to ensure freedom of religion for all Americans. What happened?

I must say that I am not a particularly religious man, but I recognize the need for freedom of religion and its subsequent practice by many Americans. This includes the President. I agree with the Founding Fathers and understand their intentions clearly: no law should be made to establish a religion nor prevent the practice of a religion. How does a Supreme Court with much more intelligent people than me, who are the most well versed of all of us in the law, fail to understand this? How come many Americans don’t understand this? I do not know the answer to the first question but I can answer the second.

There are three categories of Americans. One group has never read the Constitution and there are a lot of them. They are easily manipulated by what people on television say about “separation of church and state.” One group has read the First Amendment and understands it. That would be you and me. The third group may or may not have read it because its words really don’t matter to them. It is not what they want to read. They don’t like it so they ignore the words completely and call it the “Separation of Church and State Clause” to make it vague to those in the first category. They interpret (read distort) its clearly stated meaning into something that better fits their agenda. Their agenda is the quest for a secular nation.

If you have never read the Constitution, or it was so long ago you don’t recall reading it, go out and buy a copy today. Educate yourself by reading it in its entirety. You may be surprised to find how distorted its so-called interpretation has become in modern America.
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