left biblioblography: SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: BIBLICAL BILE, CONSTITUTIONAL CONNIVANCE, AND DENOMINATIONAL DECEPTION

Monday, September 18, 2006

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: BIBLICAL BILE, CONSTITUTIONAL CONNIVANCE, AND DENOMINATIONAL DECEPTION

Welcome to America. Where freedom is king, and we have a written guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Where the individual and the minority have just as many rights as the majority.

At least theoretically.

Y’see, we have this little thing, called Separation of Church and State. No, it’s not a myth.

Here, a snippet:”In the United States, separation of church and state is sometimes believed to be in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and by legal precedents interpreting that clause, some extremely controversial. The Establishment Clause states that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" However, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment (one of the Reconstruction Amendments) makes the Establishment Clause and other portions of the Bill of Rights binding on state and local governments as well, although it is arguable that this restriction on state and local government existed in Article VI of the unamended Constitution and that the Fourteenth Amendment was a clarification on the limitation of government power. Many other democratic governments around the world have similar clauses in their respective constitutions.
The phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution, but rather is derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group identifying themselves as the Danbury Baptists. In that letter, Jefferson uses the term "wall of separation between church and state" to show the Danbury Baptists that in both Connecticut and the entire United States, religious freedom is an inalienable right that government cannot take away. While Jefferson's letter is often cited by separationists to prove that the original intent of the First Amendment was complete separation of church and state, anti-separationists either consider it irrelevant or might say that it supports the idea that the original intention of the First Amendment was to guarantee religion the freedom to exist without government influence, and say that it makes no mention of government being wholly separate from all religious activity. This is supported by Federal Government decisions on the matter, such as Supreme court Case 43 U.S. 127; 1844 U.S. LEXIS 323; 11 L. Ed. 205; 2 HOW 127, as well as Federal Government's past involvement in printing Bibles, and using the Bible as a textbook in public schools.
James Madison, wrote in the early 1800s, "Strongly guarded . . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States." Ulysses S. Grant also called for Americans to "Keep the church and state forever separate.”

The actual First Amendment reads thusly:”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.”

And before we get into a big soiree about the meaning (it’s there in black and white, people, c’mon!), here’s a nugget to mull over:

Article 11: “"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

From the Treaty with Tripoli, that passed in 1796 (unanimously, I might add). Again in black and white.

I find both of these clauses extremely difficult to argue with: for all intents and purposes, we obviously are NOT a nation based on religious principles. Some liars claim it’s so. There may (or may not) be the occasional influence creeping in, but this country was founded in the Age of Enlightenment, and that is, as I see it, the primary and overpowering influence that can be easily demonstrated.

So here’s my take:

Against gay marriage? Why? Because the bible says so? It’s out.
Against abortion? Why? Because gawd says so? It’s out.
You want to plant the Ten Commandments in courthouses? That’s a no-no – go re-read the First Amendment.
You want prayer instituted in schools? Sorry, that’s a no-go.
You want Creation ‘science’ (a bigger oxymoron I cannot imagine, outside ‘military intelligence’) put in the schools? SEE YA.

You want to worship, or pray? Knock yourselves out (please!).

But by no stretch of the imagination, am I ever going to let religious folks dictate their alleged ‘morality’ to me. Pray in your churches or in public, it’s all the same to me. You can have your nativity scenes on your own damn property. Hell, you can even preach out in public, for all I care. I can just keep walking.

Just keep it away from our government, our schools, and my kids (if ever I have any). Short version: not on MY dime, or MY time.

A few choice quotes here:
". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind." – John Adams

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it.
". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814 ibid.

"They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point"
-Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835 ibid.
The final kicker, here:
“And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” - James Madison to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822 - Writings 9:100--103

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4 comments:

Mesoforte said...

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
in a letter to John Adams (4/11/1823)

TJ's one of my favorites. But it took me a while to find this particular quote. But, I did find something interesting on the way-

"Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing 'does not!'" - Dr. Pepper

Krystalline Apostate said...

MF:
Hey thanks for commenting. I was starting to wonder...
Dr. Pepper? Answers.com gives me the soda.

say no to christ said...

Ka said:"Just keep it away from our government, our schools, and my kids (if ever I have any). Short version: not on MY dime, or MY time."

Ramen brotha! I dont even care that god is all over our money, since money is god in this country anyways, BUT keep god out of my childrens schools and out of our private lives!

Krystalline Apostate said...

SNTC:
BUT keep god out of my childrens schools and out of our private lives!
Ramen, sista!
Religion is like sex: best kept private unless an offer to share is made & excepted.
Or unless you're an exhibitionist.