Separation of Church and State Myth
The First Amendment does not establish the separation of church and state. In fact you won't even find the words "separation of church and state" written in the first amendment. The first Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
This only guarantees the freedom of religion, NOT the freedom from religion
. This amendment was placed in our constitution by the states so that the Federal government would not have the power to establish a national religion. It really has nothing to do with protecting people from Christianity (which seems to be the only religion that the proponents of "separation of church and state" focus on for some reason) or any other religion.
The statement about a wall of separation between church and state was made in a letter on January 1, 1802, by Thomas Jefferson to a church (the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut). The congregation heard a widespread rumor that the Congregationalists, another denomination, were to become the national religion. This was very alarming to people who knew about religious persecution in England by the state established church. Jefferson made it clear in his letter to the Danbury Congregation that the separation was to be that government would not establish a national religion or dictate to men how to worship God. Jefferson was talking about the State government NOT the Federal government in his letter.
During the early years of America, the American people knew what would happen if the State established the Church like in England. Even though it was not recent history to them, they knew that England went so far as forbidding worship in private homes and sponsoring all church activities and keeping people under strict dictates. They were forced to go to the state established church and do things that were contrary to their conscience. No other churches were allowed, and mandatory attendance of the established church was compelled under the Conventicle Act of 1665. Failure to comply would result in imprisonment and torture. Again, the people did not want freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion
The reason Jefferson choose the expression "separation of church and state" was because he was addressing a Baptist congregation; a denomination of which he was not a member. Jefferson wanted to remove all fears that the STATE would dictate to the church it's desires. He was establishing common ground with the Baptists by borrowing the words of Roger Williams, one of the Baptist's own prominent preachers. Williams had said:
When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day. And that therefore if He will eer please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world...John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (MI: Baker Book House, 1987), p. 243.
The "wall" was understood as one-directional; its purpose was to protect the church from the state. The world was not to corrupt the church, yet the church was free to teach the people Biblical values.
The "separation of church and state" is nothing more than the promoting of an atheistic agenda where there is no freedom of religion.
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