The Truth About Separation Of Church And State

July 3, 2014 2:31 pmViews: 1192

Religious freedon Separation of church and state


With the recent decision by the Supreme Court allowing Hobby Lobby to uphold their religious freedoms and refuse to be forced to pay for a form of birth control they vehemently object to, the topic of the "Separation of Church and State" is once again in the news.

Many liberals look at the Hobby Lobby decision and see some kind of violation of this separation because a privately held company exercised their religious beliefs in the public square. But did they really? And what does the separation of church and state really mean? And do women or anyone for that matter, have the right to demand a company pay for something they can easily pay for themselves and is strictly voluntary? And is still available at any drugstore by the way.

But let's just look at the so-called, "separation of church and state."

This statement gets bandied about so much when religious topics are in the news you would think the liberal media and individuals spouting it might understand what it means. You would think people would know the history of this soundbite. You would think liberals would actually read the Constitution and see that these words are no where to be found in that important founding document.

If you thought any of those things, you would be wrong. Many people have no idea what they are talking about when the topic of religious freedom comes up nor do they have any clue how this statement about church and state originated.

First, let's look at what the 1st Amendment to the Constitution actually says:

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

Did you notice how the first word in the Amendment is "Congress"? Notice also that it doesn't say the ACLU, People For The American Way, Liberal judges, a coached teenager who doesn't like a poster of the 10 Commandments in her high school or even the Supreme Court. It simply says CONGRESS shall make no law. That's it.

And what exactly is an, "establishment of religion"? There are 2 thoughts here, one that says an establishment of religion is in reference to a church or religious organization, and a second one which says Congress will not establish a religion themselves. However you take that statement, it is pretty clear from the next part, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," that the 1st Amendment was in part to protect religion, not to restrict it exactly as we see happening today.

How odd is it that in the same amendment, liberal groups like the ACLU will go all out at protecting freedom of speech at all costs, but they hardly ever defend freedom of religion. In fact, they are one of the radical groups trying to remove any mention of religion from the public square? Why in the same amendment are these 2 concepts treated so widely different?

So, what does the separation of church and state mean?

The soundbite "separation of church and state" came from a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson and addressed to the Danbury Baptists. Let's read exactly how Jefferson used that phrase in the full text of the letter below:

Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen s. Nelson

A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut.

Washington, January 1, 1802

Gentlemen,--The affectionate sentiment of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

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 would "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.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Th Jefferson Jan. 1. 1802

emphasis added

If you get the tone of this letter, it is evident that Jefferson is agreeing with the Danbury Baptists that religious liberty must be preserved. Referencing the "Wall of separation" there, the concern is not to keep the church's business out of government, it is to keep the government's business out of the church. But oh how we have twisted this today to mean that the exercise of religion has no right to even show its face in the public square.

Also, what is little known is that Jefferson was responding to the Danbury Baptists letter to him, which is rarely ever referenced in the whole argument. An interesting quote in that letter found here is:

"Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor."

Wow, did you read that? The Danbury Baptists are concerned, "that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions", but exactly the opposite is happening in the United States today. No, we are not being tortured for Christ in this nation like so many others are on a daily basis around the world, but it is clear that in the wrong setting, the religious opinion of individuals simply have no standing whatsoever.

People have been fired from high profile jobs for the harmless act of donating their own money to a political or religious organization. High school commencement speakers have been told, "Do not mention God or Jesus in your speech." Displays of the 10 Commandments that have stood for decades have been removed from the public square. Crosses honoring veterans have been removed from memorials because they could been seen by the public.

And did you also notice what the Danbury Baptists said, and Jefferson did not even mention, about the role of government? It was widely understood at the time that, "the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor." Well that certainly is different that it is today with government involved in every facet of our lives and employees now think they can demand specific forms of birth control be paid for, for free no less and that this is somehow constitutionally guaranteed.

For whatever reason, there are a multitude of medical procedures, such as breast implants, and services that aren't covered under insurance, so why can't an objectionable form of birth control not be covered either?

The pushing out of all forms of religious influence from society is surely not what our forefathers intended as is evident when Jefferson penned, "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." Jefferson was making a firm commitment to defend the exercise of religion, not to let in the cancerous haters of God we see today try to dismantle every facet of religious thought from existing in our culture.

The First Amendment and Jefferson's reference to the "Separation between Church and State" was meant to preserve our religious freedom, not squash it out of existence.

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