October 26, 2005
Separation of Church and State: Myth and Reality
I recently exchanged e-mails with a person who disagreed somewhat strongly with some of my public policy positions. This disagreement was neither unusual nor noteworthy, in and of itself. But it became especially irksome to me when the discussion turned to the Liberals’ standard fallback position: an outraged accusation of my alleged violation of the Constitution’s ironclad requirement for the “Separation of Church and State.”
But the Constitution doesn’t contain the phrase “separation of church and state” anywhere. That phrase actually comes from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association, who were concerned that Anglicanism might become the official (or established) denominational preference of the new nation. Jefferson was trying to reassure the worried Baptists that no such “establishment” skullduggery was afoot.
The First Amendment’s widely misunderstood Establishment Clause simply means that the state will not set up any official state religion, nor will it prohibit any person from freely exercising the religious dictates of his or her own conscience. However, this restriction on the Government’s intrusion into the private religious convictions of its citizenry does not mean that all aspects of religion should be kept completely out of the affairs of the State. That secular ideology is entirely foreign to the original intent of the Founding Fathers who drafted the Constitution, including its Bill of Rights, as a clearly defined limitation on the power of the Government to interfere with the freedoms of the people, but not as a limitation on the power of the people to control the Government according to the beliefs of their own hearts.
President John Quincy Adams, the son of the great statesman from Massachusetts who did so much to inspire the Declaration of Independence, stated the truth succinctly on July 4, 1821: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
How many Americans today even remember that it was the Great Awakening and the fiery sermons of the Patriot Pastors that sparked the American Revolution, or that the rallying cry of the Colonial rebels was, “No King but Jesus”? No, sadly, most Americans today have been spoon-fed a poison porridge of revisionist lies that claim George Washington and Company were all rationalistic Desists seeking to advance the secular ideals of the French Enlightenment. (For more truthful information, see David Barton’s website at www.wallbuilders.com/resources/.)
It bothers me that so many schoolchildren in America are growing up ignorant of their country’s religious heritage, which is so deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition that even the Supreme Court of a century ago saw fit to declare officially that “our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . . this is a Christian nation.” (Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892)
Fifty years later, the Liberal icon Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the Court: “The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of Church and State . . . . We find no constitutional requirement makes it necessary for government to be hostile to religion and to throw its weight against the efforts to widen the scope of religious influence. The government must remain neutral when it comes to competition between sects . . . . We cannot read into the Bill of Rights such a philosophy of hostility toward religion” (Zorach v. Clauson, 1952).
Still, many Americans mistakenly believe the phrase “separation of church and state” exists in the Constitution. It doesn’t. Why are so many Americans so misinformed? Because three generations of secular humanist educators and atheistic ACLU ideologues have parroted this big lie so often that the dumbed-down, indoctrinated masses have finally begun to believe it, simply because nobody ever bothered to explain the true meaning of the First Amendment.
Liberals always claim to believe in the Constitution, even if they wrongly interpret it. But what we’re dealing with here is not a difference of opinion on some debatable topic, but rather a willful ignorance (real or professed) of long-settled historical facts.
This blatant distortion of our nation’s history is a slap in the face of American taxpayers, who are footing the bill for this widespread anti-Christian disinformation campaign. The public schools should be teaching our children the truth, not just what they want kids to believe. Those of us who know the truth need to hold the Liberals accountable for their insidious lies.
Copyright © 2005 by Nathan Tabor
Nathan Tabor is a writer based in Kernersville, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor at www.theconservativevoice.com. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com.