Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, February 13, 2012

Constitution Does Not Separate Church and State

One of the biggest lies taught to young Americans is that our Constitution and laws require government to enforce a total separation of church and state. Here is a list of familiar examples that prove America has never mandated a complete separation of church and state:

Our Pledge of Allegiance contains the words "one nation under God."

A portrait of Moses with the Ten Commandments tablet is on the wall of the United States Supreme Court.

The Lincoln Memorial has chiseled in it "Judgments of the Lord are righteous."

There is a prayer room in Congress.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to a soldier "known but to God."

The United States Supreme Court always opens with the words "God save the United States and this Honorable Court," and witnesses swear to tell the truth, so help me God.

The inscription on the Liberty Bell cites Leviticus 25:10.

All our military branches pay the salaries of chaplains.

We have mandated a National Day of Prayer.

We have a mandated Thanksgiving in which we are asked to give thanks to God.

We celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, as a national holiday.

The last stanza of our National Anthem refers to God.

Our Declaration of Independence refers to God four times.

Our calendar is dated from the year of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Our coins and money bills are inscribed with "In God We Trust."

Famous American songs: My Country 'Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic all mention God.

The United States Constitution refers to Jesus when it was signed, just above John Hancock's signature, "in the year of Our Lord," 1787.

Remind your children of this list because public schools are teaching them nothing about our religious history and heritage.

Listen to the radio commentary here:


Doug Indeap said...

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of "We the people" (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

That the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation--in those very words--of the founders' intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

Barry McGowan said...

"How to Separate Church & State: A Manual from the Trenches" is now available at all book outlets.

“... a fine guide to action: it explains in considerable detail just how each of us can make a difference in correcting violations of real religious liberty ... this work gives you plenty of avenues to make a real difference in your community and nation.” -Rev. Barry Lynn
President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

“... does a great job showing the remarkable number and variety of ways in which Monotheistic religion has wended its way into our state and federal governments. Just a walk down the Table of Contents demonstrates how pervasive this constitutional infraction has been. ... A more in-depth reading reveals some of the tools that can be used to redirect that power as the nation’s great charter requires.”
-Mike Newdow
Constitutional Law Attorney

“...very useful and well-organized.”
-Dale McGowan
Editor of Parenting Beyond Belief and Co-author of Raising Freethinkers


Post a Comment

Keep comments short. Long comments will be deleted.