Separation of Church and State

Discussion in 'The Fire For Effect and Totally Politically Incorr' started by Marlin T, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    Rentalguy, thank you very much for that detailed and correct answer in the now locked thread.

    The most correct thing that Woodchuck still doesn’t get; is the Danbury letter. THAT is where the, “Separation of Church and State” phrase came from.

    A bit of history;


    It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson's example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House--a practice that continued until after the Civil War--were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a "crowded audience." Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.

    Jefferson's actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist "a wall of separation between church and state." In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a "national" religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.

    The Danbury Letter;

    January 1, 1802


    The affectionate sentiments of esteem and appreciation which you are so good to express toward me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

    Believing with you that religion is a matter that lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and 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 and 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 his natural rights, convinced that he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

    I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the Common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of high respect and esteem.

    Thomas Jefferson

    Then only two days after drafting the Danbury letter, Jefferson attended a church service in Congress.
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    "legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and state".

    The wall is: legislature can make no laws.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009

  3. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    It doesn't matter what Thomas Jefferson wrote. What matters is that the first amendment says that the congress can't make laws respective to religion or against it.

    That means for or against. That means not for Christianity or against Islam.
  4. JohnBrainard

    JohnBrainard New Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    Gilbert, AZ
    It appears to be the first amendment is directly limiting Congress's powers in regards to religion, speech, press and peaceful assembly.
  5. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    New Mexico
    Apparently it does matter what Thomas Jefferson wrote, because you are misquoting the Constitution when you wrote this...

    Then you went on to say this...

    Maybe I'm not understanding what you thought or think the 'separation' is or where it comes from.

    But the "separation of church and state" is a myth when it comes to the Constitution, as you clearly pointed out by quoting the first amendment. It is not there.

    It is not a myth when it comes to history though. This is why I posted the Danbury letter where the "separation" comes from.

    Tell me where I'm going wrong. :cool:
  6. Actually it DOES matter what he wrote since he wrote most of the Constitution. So I'd tend to believe that he would have a pretty good idea of what it means.
  7. rentalguy1

    rentalguy1 Former Guest

    James Madison wrote the Constitution. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.;)
  8. Bobitis

    Bobitis Guest

    Maybe I'm all wet here.....

    The people that fled Europe to America did so under the reason of religious persecution. At that time the church WAS the government. They were one in the same.

    The 'separation of church and state' is to imply that the government should not be ruled by any religious persuasion. It's the sole reason for our countries existance.

    If you want to pick things apart; "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" would include any worship in a government building, or anywhere for that matter.

    The whole matter revolves around religion controlling government, or government controlling religion.

    I thought it was about freedom?

    Or did I miss something?
  9. rentalguy1

    rentalguy1 Former Guest

    As I stated in another thread, The king of England had shed the bonds of the Catholic church, and created the Church of England. This entity was controlled by the monarchy. Subjects either converted to this new church, or they were persecuted. This is what lead to the Pilgrims and the founding of our country. The freedom of religion clause in the first amendment is not a "separation of church and state." It prohibits Congress from ever creating a state church. It allows for the free practice of a citizen's religion of choice, at any time, in any place....government buildings included. It does, however, prohibit the operators of that government building from holding a religious event in front of a captive audience. That is why teachers can no longer lead their students in a Christian prayer at the beginning of each school day. That does not represent freedom of religion to the non-Christian student who happens to be a member of the captive audience. If, however, the teacher said, "I am going to go in the hall to pray in Jesus' name. Anyone who wishes to join me is free to do so." it would be constitutionally legal. You would never get any of the politically correct leaders than we have now to realize this, though.
  10. Yeah, I mixed them up.:eek::eek: Madison laid most of the framework, but it was physically written by Governor Morris of PA. Everyone at the Convention had a hand in it though.
  11. Exactly. The main point of the 1st Amendment was to prevent the formation of a state-controlled religion. During the early history of the US after the Revolution, church services were frequently held in the local courthouse. The only stipulation was that ALL local churches, regardless of denomination, had to have equal access to use such buildings.
  12. 45nut

    45nut Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Good responses rental & bcj! :D

    With your well thought out and correct response all I can add is I heard Woody whiff all the way down in Texas! :eek: :D If he keeps this up, I'm gonna get a wind turbine. :D :D
  13. EddieS1967

    EddieS1967 Member

    Jan 29, 2009
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