Separation of Church and State v. Church as State

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Sec...

English: A Portrait of Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution refers to the establishment and practice of religion in the United States. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” The 14th Amendment has been interpreted as expanding the Bill of Rights to state governments. The last sentence of Amendment 14, Section 1 states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the U.S.; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Nowhere in the Constitution is it stated that there should be a separation of church from the state. It simply states that no national religion can be established and that the government cannot stop people from practicing their religion. The phrase “wall of separation between Church and State” is from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists who were afraid that the government would make their denomination illegal, as had been practice in many colonies before the U.S. declared independence from Britain. Jefferson used the wall analogy to reassure them that the government would have nothing to do with religion because it is a matter of conscience between man and God. He never said that religion shall be removed from government or public life. Prayer and Christian worship services were conducted in the halls of Congress. The Christian religion was taught in public schools. There was even concern about how teaching science outside the context of God could cause students to become atheistic. Mandatory chapel attendance was a fact of life in universities like Harvard and Yale.

Fast forward to what has occurred in the last century, focusing on the last 40 years. Progressives have added interpretation to the 1st and 14th Amendments that are not there and have twisted Jefferson’s words to mean that the “separation” means that religion has no place in the public realm. This belief has led to the elimination of the Christian religion of all denominations from public schools, while the tenets of Islam are being taught openly. Pastors are prohibited from preaching on political issues because of tax laws. Teachers are prohibited from teaching Christianity in public schools which flies in the face of “free exercise” because teachers are not allowed to fulfill the Great Commission given to all Christians by Jesus in the Gospels.

History has shown how eliminating religion from the state actually mutates the state into a religion. Ancient Romans persecuted Christians because they refused to worship the Caesar as a god or any of the other state sponsored gods. Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and the Nazi Third Reich in Germany are two other glaring examples of how government becomes a national religion. Religion became heavily regulated and persecuted by the State. These governments wanted their citizens to fully rely on them, not a Supreme Being.

In conclusion, laws and court rulings that limit the free practice of religion in the public realm are unconstitutional. Students in government schools are being taught that Christianity had nothing to do with how the Founding Fathers developed the fabric of our government. Christian children in many schools are not allowed to pray openly or wear clothing that reflects their beliefs because what they do may be offensive to religions that may be in a minority or non-existent in the school. Christians have to compete with atheists for the opportunity to display the story of Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season. When governments take religion from young people while telling them to question everything their parents teach them, they can manipulate these children into believing that the government is the source of all that is good, not God.

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About catherinebrigden

I am a former English teacher and co-owner of a small business. I used to be extremely liberal, but my eyes have been opened. I believe our freedoms are being taken away by our government, and I am going to fight to get them back.

3 responses to “Separation of Church and State v. Church as State”

  1. Danielle says :

    You know, I just did this long rant on my own blog pushing for the separation of religion and politics. And then I read this and I realized that you can’t really separate them completely without the trend heading towards nationalism, as you said. But I do feel like it’s unfair to govern a people according to one group’s beliefs when there a many other beliefs held in this nation. Now, if this country was a Christian Democratic Republic that would be different, but as it stands, we don’t have an official religion, therefore, I think it works in the favor of our political system, to remove personal conviction from the government. That doesn’t mean that people can’t wear their crosses, or pray in school, or wear hijab, or anything that requires suppressing their individual religious beliefs, it just means that our government officials should not make legislative decisions based off of their own religious beliefs because then, it would be unfair and biased. I think we have to keep our government, the big guys in Congress, as unbiased and fair as possible to ensure a proper democracy.

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