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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thomas Jefferson Tuesday- "Separation between Church and State"

Wonder where the whole "Separation between Church and State" thing came from? It was in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut!

And of course, Jefferson did not mean it to keep the Church out of the government, but to keep the government out of the Church!


Please, American people, do your research! Read the Founder's own words. Learn True History and teach it to your children.



"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 or his worship, that 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 church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."

~Thomas Jefferson 1802 — letter to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut

3 comments:

The Teachers Wife

Thanks for stopping by at www.survivingateacherssalary.com I am following you back! :)

Doug Indeap

The phrase “separation of church and state” is but a metaphor to describe the principle derived from the Constitution (1) establishing a secular government on the power of the people (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office and the First Amendment provisions constraining the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions.

Some try to pass off the Supreme Court’s decision in Everson v. Board of Education as simply a misreading of Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists–as if that is the only basis of the Court’s decision. Instructive as that letter is, it played but a small part in the Court’s decision. Perhaps even more than Jefferson, James Madison influenced the Court’s view. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

The primary purpose of the First Amendment religion clauses is neither to protect religion nor government from one another, but rather to protect individuals' religious freedom. The free-exercise clause does this directly by constraining the government from prohibiting individuals from freely exercising their religions. The establishment clause does this indirectly by constraining government from promoting or otherwise taking steps to establish any religion, thus assuring that individuals are free to exercise their religions without fearing the government will favor the religions of others and thus disfavor theirs.

Some who nonetheless would like to use government to promote their religion have argued that the First Amendment works only in one direction--to protect religion from government, but not the other way around. This, they suppose, would leave them free to insinuate their religion into government and thereby effectively establish it as the nation's religion. To the extent that the First Amendment prevents that, it can be said to at least have the effect of protecting government from religion. Indeed, the notion of a one directional wall is self-contradictory: If any church is free to so influence and control government and thereby achieve a favored or established status, all individuals are at risk of their religions falling into disfavor with government and facing discriminatory treatment. One of the primary aims of the First Amendment is to prevent just that.

Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

kewkew

I came over from the Friendly friday blog hop. I have to say I love your posts with the quotes from our founding fathers. I am also homeschooling my girls. I have a 4 yr old, a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I am glad to have found your blog and I am following you now.
Blessings

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