Friday, May 9, 2014

The Separation of Church And State: The Humanist Myth

You hear atheists say it all the time when followers of Jesus try to point out that the United States of America was founded on Christian principles; They will link the phrase "Separation of Church and State" with the first amendment.

They do this because they are trying to convince everyone that Christianity had nothing to do with the foundation of our country, and sadly, many people have bought this lie because they do not do their own research into the topic.

Allow me to shed light on the truth:

Origin of "Separation of Church and State":

Where does this phrase come from?  From Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut.

In their letter to Jefferson, which was written on October 7 of 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association wrote the following:

"Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty – That 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 – That the legitimate Power of civil Government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbour: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our antient charter, together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted as the Basis of our government at the time of our revolution; and such had been our laws & usages, & such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; & therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those who seek after power & gain under the pretence of government & Religion should reproach their fellowmen – should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ."

The folks at the Danbury Baptist Association were concerned that the guarantee of the “free exercise of religion” that appeared in the First Amendment was suggesting that the right to religious exercise was government-granted, rather than a God-granted right, implying that the government might try to regulate religious expression in the future.  In the letter he wrote on January 1, 1802, Jefferson said this in response:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & 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." 

As we can see from his response, Jefferson was assuring the folks at the Danbury Baptist Association that the free exercise of religion was indeed an unalienable right, and that there was a “wall of separation between Church and State,” to ensure that the government would never interfere with religious activities.

Since Jefferson quoted the first amendment in his response, I think it's a good idea to look at what the Founders intended the first amendment to do.

The Intent of The First Amendment:

The Founders did not want in America what they had had in Great Britain: they did not want one denomination running the nation at the federal level.  They did not want everybody to be Anglicans or Catholics or any single denomination; they wanted God’s principles to run the nation at the federal level, not one denomination's.

How do we know this?  In the Supreme Court case, Runkel v. Winemiller, of 1799, Justice Samuel Chase, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, made the following statement in his ruling: 

"Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.

The principles of the Christian religion cannot be diffused, and its doctrines generally propagated, without places of public worship and teachers and ministers, to explain the Scriptures to the people, and to enforce an observance of the precepts of religion by their preaching and living. And the pastors, teachers and ministers, of every denomination of Christians, are equally entitled to the protection of ,the law, and to the enjoyment of their religious and temporal rights. And the Court are of opinion, that every endowed minister, of any sect or denomination of Christians, who has been wrongfully dispossessed of his pulpit, is entitled to the writ of mandamus to be restored to his function, and the temporal rights with which it is endowed."

Thomas Jefferson essentially agreed with Justice Samuel Chase's ruling in his letter to Benjamin Rush on September 23, 1800:

"I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. on the contrary it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian or Deist; & would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know however that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum, who are all in arms against me. their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. the delusions into which the XYZ plot shewed it possible to push the people, the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion, on the clause of the constitution which while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro’ the US. and as every sect believes it’s own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for it’s own: but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. the returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any position of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. and they believe truly. for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. but this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion; & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison & which are absolute falshoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falshoods too of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison for they are men of truth.—but enough of this."

While the founding fathers did not want any one Christian denomination running the nation at the federal level, they had no problems with a particular denomination being enforced at a state level.  How do we know this?  Just take a look at the Constitution of Vermont from 1777.  In section three of chapter one of the Vermont Constitution, we read the following:

"That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding, regulated by the word of GOD; and that no man ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect, or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience; nor can any man who professes the protestant religion, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right, as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiment, or peculiar mode of religious worship, and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatsoever, that shall, in any case, interfere with, or in any manner controul, the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship: nevertheless, every sect or denomination of people ought to observe the Sabbath, or the Lord's day, and keep up, and support, some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of GOD."

In section 9 of chapter 2, the Vermont Constitution says this:

"A quorum of the house of representatives shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of members elected; and having met and chosen their speaker, shall, each of them, before they proceed to business, take and subscribe, as well the oath of fidelity and allegiance herein after directed, as the following oath or affirmation, viz.

'I ____ do solemnly swear, by the ever living God, (or, I do solemnly affirm in the presence of Almighty God) that as a member of this assembly, I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote, or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people; nor do or consent to any act or thing whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared in the Constitution of this State; but will, in all things' conduct myself as a faithful, honest representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of my judgment and abilities.'

And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.

'I ____ do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Diverse, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the scriptures of the old and new testament to be given by divine inspiration, and own and profess the protestant religion.'

And no further or other religious test shall ever, hereafter, be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this State."

In section 41 of chapter two, we read this:

"Laws for the encouragement of virtue and prevention of vice and immorality, shall be made and constantly kept in force; and provision shall be made for their due execution; and all religious societies or bodies of men, that have or may be hereafter united and incorporated, for the advancement of religion and learning, or for other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities and estates which they, in justice, ought to enjoy, under such regulations; as the General Assembly of this State shall direct."

Not only were Christian principles to be part of the government, they were also to be part of education!  How do we know this?  We know this because in 1782, the Congress of The United States of America approved Robert Aitken's request to publish Bibles for the sole purpose of distributing them to every school in America.  On January 21, 1781, Aitken wrote the following to Congress:

"To the Honourable The Congress 
of the United States of America 
The Memorial of Robert Aitken 
of the City of Philadelphia, Printer

Humbly Sheweth

That in every well regulated Government in Christendom The Sacred Books of the Old and New Testament, commonly called the Holy Bible, are printed and published under the Authority of the Sovereign Powers, in order to prevent the fatal confusion that would arise, and the alarming Injuries the Christian Faith might suffer from the Spurious and erroneous Editions of Divine Revelation. That your Memorialist has no doubt but this work is an Object worthy the attention of the Congress of the United States of America, who will not neglect spiritual security, while they are virtuously contending for temporal blessings. Under this persuasion your Memorialist begs leave to, inform your Honours That he both begun and made considerable progress in a neat Edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools, But being cautious of suffering his copy of the Bible to Issue forth without the sanction of Congress, Humbly prays that your Honours would take this important matter into serious consideration & would be pleased to appoint one Member or Members of your Honourable Body to inspect his work so that the same may be published under the Authority of Congress. And further, your Memorialist prays, that he may be commissioned or otherwise appointed & Authorized to print and vend Editions of, the Sacred Scriptures, in such manner and form as may best suit the wants and demands of the good people of these States, provided the same be in all things perfectly consonant to the Scriptures as heretofore Established and received amongst us."

Charles Thomson, who was Secretary of the Continental Congress and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, had this to say in response on September 10, 1782:

"Honble James Duane, Esq. Chairman, and the other 
Honble Gentlemen of the Committee of Congress on 
Mr. Aitken's Memorial."

THAT the United States in Congress assembled highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion, as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize him to publish this Recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.

CHA. THOMSON, Sec'ry."

Jefferson's letter taken out of context to take God out of education:

As we can see by the evidence above, the phrase "Separation of Church and State" had nothing to do with keeping Christian principles out of Government and Education.  So when did this phrase get ripped out of context?  In 1947, in the Everson v. Board of Education Supreme Court Case, Justice Hugo Black said the following in page 330 U.S. 15-16:

"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups, and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and State.'"

Wait a minute!  Justice Black is taking that phrase WAY out of context!  As we remember from the first section, the Danbury Baptist Association were concerned that the guarantee of the “free exercise of religion” was government-granted, rather than a God-granted right, which implied to them that the government might try to regulate religious expression in the future.  Jefferson was assuring them that the free exercise of religion was indeed a God-granted right, and that the “wall of separation between Church and State,” was to ensure that the government would never interfere with religious activities.  It had ABSOLUTELY ZERO to do with separating Christian principles from government and education!   

Despite this blatant twisting of Jefferson's original letter, we know that over the next several years that people used Justice Black's incorrect interpretation a lot.  How do we know this?  In the New York Supreme Court case Baer v. Kolmorgen in 1958, Judge Elbert T. Gallagher wrote the following:

"Much has been written in recent years concerning Thomas Jefferson's reference in 1802 to 'a wall of separation between church and State.' It is upon that 'wall' that plaintiffs seek to build their case. Jefferson's figure of speech has received so much attention that one would almost think at times that it is to be found somewhere in our Constitution. Courts and authors have devoted numerous pages to its interpretation. This court has no intention of engaging in a dispute among historians as to the meaning of a metaphor. The only language which we are called upon to interpret and apply is the plain language quoted above from the Federal and State Constitutions."

What is tragic about Judge Gallagher's statement is that even though he acknowledges the phrase "a wall of separation between Church and State" is taken out out of context so much that people were beginning to think that it was part of the first amendment, he foolishly decided not to figure out what the phrase meant in the context of Jefferson's letter, and went along with the recent legal cases that took the phrase out of context.    

The depravity of America was best on display in 1980 in the Supreme Court case Stone v. Graham.  In this case, Kentucky statute that required the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of each public classroom in the state was ruled unconstitutional and in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it lacked a nonreligious, legislative purpose.  Here is the logic that the Supreme Court used to come to that conclusion:

"The preeminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one's parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. See Exodus 20:12-17; Deuteronomy 5:16-21. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day. See Exodus 20:1-11; Deuteronomy 5:6-15.

This is not a case in which the Ten Commandments are integrated into the school curriculum, where the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like. Abington School District v. Schempp, supra at 225. Posting of religious texts on the wall serves no such educational function. If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause."  

What the Supreme Court essentially said is that if students see the Ten Commandments, they might obey them, and that would be “unconstitutional".  What is wrong with obeying the Ten Commandments?  What is wrong with obeying such commandments as "Do not murder" or "do not steal" or "do not bear false witness against a neighbor" or "honor your father and mother" or "do not covet your neighbor's possessions"?  

It's not those things that were considered unconstitutional; it's the fact that the first four commandments deal with our relationship to God.  The Supreme Court declared that children choosing of their own volition to worship God by obeying his commandments in a public setting is unconstitutional.  What we have here is the Government regulating religious expression, the very thing that the Danbury Baptist Association folks were worried about when they wrote that letter to Thomas Jefferson in 1801.  Thomas Jefferson assured them that the first amendment was intended to prevent the government from regulating religious expression, but by twisting Jefferson's words out of context, the Government did exactly that.  

The Consequences of Taking Christian Principles Out of Government and Education:

Are there consequences for taking the Christian principles out of our government and education system?  Absolutely yes, and the Founding fathers knew it.  In his farewell address of 1796, George Washington, the first president of the United States, said this:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

In a speech to the officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts on October 11, 1798 (Which can be found on pages 265-266 in Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull), John Adams, the second President of the United States of America, said the following:

"While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world. Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. 

Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." 

In Chapter 18 of his book Notes On The State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in regards to the slave situation in the United States:

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!  The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest."

As we can see from the words of the first three presidents of the United States of America, losing religious principles from the Government and Education not only would cause national morality to go down the tubes, but would leave us with a government unable to control people who don't want to be restrained by morality and religion.  According to Jefferson, taking the religious principles out of our government and education system would eventually lead to the loss of the liberties which our nation was founded on.

The Treaty of Tripoli:  

Now, the one document that Atheists love to cite as evidence that the United States was not founded on Christian Principles is the Treaty of Tripoli.  In Article 11 of the treaty, we read the following:

"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 tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan 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."

What was going on back then that lead to the Treaty of Tripoli?  The Barbary Powers Conflict was going on: The Muslim Barbary Powers, which consisted of Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli, were warring against what they claimed to be the "Christian" nations, which consisted of England, France, Spain, Denmark, and the United States.  Throughout the conflict, the Barbary Powers attacked defenseless American merchant ships and enslaved "Christian" seamen in retaliation for what had been done to them by the "Christians" of previous centuries, referring primarily to the Crusades.

I find the Muslim motivation behind the Barbary Powers Conflict to be hilarious, because when you look at what happened in the Crusades, it turns out that the Muslims are the ones who started the Crusades:  What happened was that the Muslims had taken over Jerusalem and the surrounding countries by military force, and the Catholic Church got into the Crusades to take back the countries that the Muslims had taken.  While the Catholics did immoral things during the Crusades that we should never do, The Catholics are not the ones who started the Crusades; it was the Muslims.      

Furthermore, On page 54 of Advice to The Young, Noah Webster said the following:

"As the means of temporal happiness, then, the christian religion ought to be received, and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles. It teaches the equality of men as to rights and duties; and while it forbids all oppression, it commands due subordination to law and rulers. It requires the young to yield obedience to their parents, and enjoins upon men the duty of selecting their rulers from their fellow citizens of mature age, sound wisdom and real religion -  'men who fear God and hate covetousness.' The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government." 

On page 52 of  Mr. Webster's Speech in Defence of the Christian Ministry and In Favor of the Religious Instruction of the Young. Delivered in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 10, 1844, in the Case of Stephen Girard's Will, Webster said the following:

"But how, or when it may be established, there is nothing that we look for with more certainty than this general principle, that Christianity is part of the law of the land.  This was the case of the Puritans of England, the Episcopalians of the southern states, the Pennsylvania Quakers, the Baptists, the mass of followers of Whitefield and Wesley and the Presbyterians--all--all brought and all adopted this great truth--and all have sustained it.  And where there is any religious sentiment amongst men at all, this sentiment incorporates itself with the law.  Everything declares it!  The massive cathedral of the Catholic; The Episcopalian church, with its lofty spire pointing heavenward; the plain temple of the Quaker; the log church of the hardy pioneer in the wilderness; the mementos and memorials around and about us--the graveyards--their tombstones and epitaphs--their silent vaults--their mouldering contents--all attest it.  The dead proves it as well as the living!  The generation that is gone before speak to it, and pronounce it from the tomb!  We feel it!  All, all, proclaim that Christianity--general, tolerant Christianity--Christianity independent of sects and parties--that Christianity to which the sword and the F---- are unknown--general, tolerant Christianity, is the law of the land!"  

As we can see from the quotes of Noah Webster, as well as the quotes from the Founding Fathers and original signers of the Declaration of Independence that have been seen throughout this post, the Treaty of Tripoli does not actually contradict or disprove the fact that the United States of America was founded on Christian principles.  In fact, the Treaty of Tripoli, when explained fully, supports the idea that the the United States of America was founded on Christian principles.


I think it is pretty clear at this point that Christian principles were the basis for the government and education system of the United States of America at its beginning.  The question becomes this: why did the courts decide from 1947 and on to separate Christian principles from government and education if those principles are the basis for the foundation of our country?

As I pointed out in one of my earlier blog posts, Atheism vs Jesus: The Academic Battle For The Souls of Humanity, the Atheists/Humanists/Evolutionists have controlled the academic world since the early 1900s.  By the time the Everson v. Board of Education case rolled around in 1947, the Atheists/Humanists/Evolutionists who control the academic world had successfully indoctrinated multiple generations of Americans into their God-hating worldview, and the public consensus had shifted from largely Christian to more Humanistic/Atheistic.  Just like when they lie about Evolution and Creationism, the Atheists/Humanists/Evolutionists in positions of authority twisted and lied about what Thomas Jefferson meant by "a wall of separation of church and state" in order to change the legal precedents to where they could justify kicking Christian principles out of government and education.  

As I look upon the American landscape today, I am coming to the conclusion that the America of our Founding Fathers is dead.  We have failed to avoid what Webster described on page 49 of Advice to the Young:  

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican goverment fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted."    

If we don't reincorporate Christian principles back into government and education, God will eventually judge our nation, just like he has all the other nations that have turned away from him.  We ought to heed Thomas Jefferson's warning:

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever..."            

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