Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The media rushes to assure us what the First Amendment really means

Christine O'Donnell is, if nothing else, a headline grabber. In a simple question of the obvious - where exactly does the First Amendment say Separation of Church and State? - we see damage control rushing to make sure no one is fooled by the fact that it really isn't in the Constitution. In this article, the MSM confuses interpretation with fact; including the assumption that the founding fathers insisted no creationism would ever be able to be taught in our schools (though at the time the Bible was one of the text books used), and that teachers would never be able to teach their faith (unless apparently that is a Muslim, liberal, progressive, atheistic, or other non-Christian faiths).

Essentially the 1948 decision did capture part of the spirit of the Founders' intentions, but at the sacrifice of the greater whole. The purpose was to avoid the situation of England and much of Europe, where state and church were one and the same. Where being on the wrong side of the state's religious viewpoint could get one ostracized at best, thrown into the dungeons at worst. The First Amendment was to prevent that from happening. One, by making sure the government would never form or officially support any one faith confession. There would be no Church of America. On the other hand, the second way to oppress and control religion was also prevented, and that is allowing the free exercise. Lest any clever folks say 'we're not respecting an establishment of religion, we're just banning all other religions we don't like', the second clause was inserted to make sure the true heart and soul of the First Amendment was understood: The need for religious liberty. It was never Seperation of Church and State that was at the center, but the need to protect a man's personal religious liberty and freedom. A man could believe anything and come to the American table, including the presidency, congres, the court. He could bring his faith with him no matter how unpopular. The government could not hinder him by favoring another faith over his, nor could it outright banish or punish him for the wrong ideals.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, with wisdom reminiscent of Dred Scott, decided that this really meant that the State and Church should never touch, and most importantly, the Holiness of the State must never be tarnished by the infection of the Church. If that means the second clause must be sacrificed for the sake of the first, so be it. If it means the free exercise of religion can no longer be allowed, tough. If it means all religions be banished to the ghettos, oh well. That would have been bad enough. But what we now see, promoted by groups such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State, is that this is no longer applicable evenly. While the ACLU chases any and every vestige of Christianity from the public forum, schools are taking field trips to hear the Dalai Lama, or learn about Islam. While liberal religious leaders petition Congress to rule according to their values, Conservative Christians are being told theirs is a religion of hate that has no place in our modern society.

Maybe it's because I'm not a lawyer. And I'm no journalist. But I get the impression that no matter what the Founding Fathers meant, religious liberty or Separation of Church and State, they sure as hell didn't mean an establishment of a singular super-ideology by oppressing and banning all other beliefs, including religious beliefs, that fail to conform to that super-ideology thereof. And since that seems to be the fruit that the tree of the Separation of Church and State interpretation has born, I can't help but question the soundness of that fateful 1948 decision.


  1. Agreed! The words nor meaning "separation of Church and State" or at least the meaning that has been attributed to that phrase in modern day never are in the First Amendment.
    I don't agree with the way the MSM portrays people and I think they should read before they speak or at least do some actual thinking.
    I would be fine if multiple religions were taught in school as long as a proper time was given to Christianity.

  2. I agree, though I am hesitant to attribute the use of Bibles in early American schools to the intentions of the Founders. It's clear that teaching Christian lessons, especially in light of later amendments to the Constitution, violated the heart of the First Amendment. Nevertheless, I agree that there are many now exploiting the SCOTUS interpretation.

  3. I believe that there are those who would throw out the first amendment if it meant that they could throw out All Religious from having a place in government. There have been many who have come close to saying it. Freedom- oh where has it gone?


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