A Constitutional myth

After deciding more than a year ago that I would not respond on social media to those people who just wanted to complain or argue or didn’t want to know the truth. I’ve actually done pretty good about not responding.
This week though in light of wanting to explain the truth I let my fingers type a response to someone about separation of church and state not being in the Constitution. Of course, it was a mistake because this person just really wanted to argue. They posted it on a story about God being removed by Democrats or something and I couldn’t just let it go!
The phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the United States Constitution. History was one of my favorite subjects and had I not chosen journalism, I would have majored or minored in history. I have done extensive research on the Constitution, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and other things involving our history such as the revolution and the Civil War.
If you do some research these days you will find in some dissertations it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” penned in the Constitution is a paraphrase. In reality Jefferson used the words separation of church and state in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. His exact words in that letter were” … thus building a separation between church and state…” Taking the intent and function of that clause by itself, means not interfering in anyone’s expression of religion. I also believe it was included in the Constitution to keep the government from establishing a state church or a national religion for everyone as was the case in other countries.
In today’s world, it is Christians who are being silenced and the government is not respecting that religion. We are expected to give our rights away for the rights of satanism and Muslims, but heaven forbid we practice our religion publicly because we will be persecuted. Take heart, as the Bible tells us this will transpire.
However, Christians have remained silent too long. We did not want to “make a scene” or be deemed troublemakers. There is a time to be silent but there is also a time to speak up and Christians have long passed the point where they should have spoken up. There is also a right and wrong way to speak up. We should do it in truth and with kindness but also in boldness.
The words “separation of church and state” are misused today, many times as a tool by those in power to silence opposing views. Just the opposite of what was originally intended.
Jefferson actually authored a Statute for Religious Freedom for Virginia. It inspired and shaped the guarantees of religious liberty which was eventually put in the First Amendment. The right to practice your religion is a foundational freedom for all Americans. By no means did Jefferson suggest religion should be exiled from public debate.
I don’t believe he meant that the government was prohibited from referencing or accommodating religion or that government should expel all religious references from the public square. In short, the church should not rule over the state, nor the state rule over the church. The separation of church and state is an idea that prohibits the government from interfering with the church.
Jefferson himself attended church services inside the United State Capitol as did others. As I once heard someone say, religion is too important to be a government program or a political pageant. The courts have agreed with this sentiment many times. Free exercise means you may have a faith and are allowed to live it as well.
Jefferson and a vast majority of the founding fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution aligned themselves with Christianity. Men and women of faith have served honorably in all levels of government in the United States and allowed their religious convictions to guide them in decision-making while in office. Jefferson went so far as to declare public days of fasting and prayer.
There are so many myths people believe about the Constitution and untruths about our founding fathers, because they have not actually read the Constitution themselves or used a trusted source. Personally, I think it should be required reading as a prerequisite to graduation, more so than A Tale of Two Cities.
The words separation of church and state are used today to have crosses ripped down in parks and were used to banish prayer from schools. Definitely not something our forefathers and the founders of our country ever thought would happen. Evicting God from society was certainly not the outcome they sought.
Schools, courts and the public square were often Christian since the beginning of our nation. Back then you would find very few Americans who would have tolerated a coerce government infringing on their rights to post religious symbols on local schools, courts or anywhere else. The Constitution did not prohibit public displays of faith. Our forefathers would not be proud of the restrictions placed on religion these days.
Christians should no longer be silent and should be speaking up. It’s time has come. Will you remain silent while your freedoms are taken away? ©2019

VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Copy Editor, Copywriting, Event Planner, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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