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Separation of Church and State

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

 

Over the last few decades, our United States Supreme Court and the mainstream media have done an excellent job of presenting certain things as “facts”, while in reality, they have very little to do with Truth. One of the myths they have successfully perpetrated is the theory that separation of Church and State is a time – honored principle, passed down from the authors and signers of the Constitution, and upheld throughout America’s history. They also espouse the belief that the First Amendment was created to keep anything religious out of Government.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The First Amendment was added to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. It was intended to keep government from establishing a national religion, not to stamp out every manifestation of religion in anything the government has jurisdiction over.

Let’s take a look at the actual history of the First Amendment, and see if we can determine what purpose our Founding Fathers intended it to serve.

When the Continental Congress was attempting to convince the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution, many of the colonies were upset that there were no provisions in the new document to protect their rights, and several of them would only ratify it on the condition that a Bill of Rights would be added later, which the advocates of the Constitution agreed to.

Out of the 11 colonies that ratified the Constitution in 1789 (minus the Bill of Rights), 5 proposed an amendment that would protect their religious freedom. So when the Bill of Rights was proposed, it was offered as one of the first important amendments.

Ironically, the most widespread argument against the adoption of the First Amendment was that the new government had such limited power that it would have no chance to violate individual liberties.

During the first drafts, the language changed several times. One of the drafts read “All men have an equal, natural, and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” They were assuming that there would be Christianity, but didn’t want the government to institutionalize one denomination over another.

At one point, James Madison wanted to change the language to read “. . . nor shall any national religion be established. . .”. Representative Gerry opposed this because during the struggle to ratify the Constitution, it was made very clear that the government being established was NOT a national government, it was a federal government.

The Senate proposed a version that read “Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” Eventually, Fisher Ames came up with the language we are all now familiar with, and it was passed into law.

As we can clearly see throughout the process that they went through to agree on the language of the First Amendment, the object they were trying to achieve was to keep the government from establishing a national religion, and from interfering with anyone’s practice of religion.

Our culture has been so brainwashed that it is commonly believed that the catch-phrase, “separation of Church and State” was included in the Constitution. It is not. Some people believe it is in the Bill of Rights. However, it’s not there either. It does not occur in any major founding document. It wasn’t even in existence until on January 1, 1802, Thomas Jefferson used it in a short letter of courtesy to the Danbury Baptist Association.

And the phrase was not given wide-spread recognition or credence until 1947, when the Supreme Court misconstrued Jefferson’s letter in Everson v. Board of Education…

In recent times, since 1947, the Supreme Court of the United States has rested much, if not most of their opposition to religion on Thomas Jefferson. How much weight should we give that?

Jefferson did not author or sign the Constitution. He was in France at the time it was written, and didn’t even see the document until after it was established. After he saw a copy, he sent a letter requesting a Bill of Rights be added. That is all the influence he had on our Constitution.

Placing a whole theory on a phrase written in a short letter written by a man that had very little or nothing to do with the First Amendment is a frightening practice, and will hardly be adhered to by anyone who takes the time to look at the facts.

If our founding fathers intended to totally eradicate religion from government, as the modern Supreme Court would have us believe, how do we explain these facts:

On April 7, 1789, the United States Senate appointed a committee to decide the manner of electing chaplains. On April 9, 1789, the House appointed a committee for the same purpose. The Senate elected its first chaplain on April 25, 1789; the House did the same on May 1, 1789.

I hardly think that if our forefathers’ intentions were to outlaw any religion in government they would have appointed chaplains BEFORE the First Amendment was even in existence.

Interestingly enough, on September 25, 1789, three days after Congress sanctioned the appointment of paid chaplains, they also decided on the final wording of the Bill of Rights. Also on September 25, 1789, the House resolved to ask the President to set a day aside for a national Thanksgiving.

Fisher Ames, the gentleman who produced the final wording for the First Amendment, said that he believed the Bible should be the primary textbook in all schools.

James Wilson, the second most predominant member of the Constitutional Convention (he spoke 168 times!), and an original Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, asserted, “Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine….Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.”

George Washington warns in his Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

I believe it is safe to conclude from historical evidence that our founding fathers’ intentions were not to exclude any expression of religion from government. Rather, they were attempting to protect the people’s freedom to worship in whatever denomination they chose, rather than the government telling them how they had to do it.

Let us try to encourage our Nation to return to the truths that it was founded upon, and help create more public awareness of our early statesmen’s original intentions.

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Our Heritage

We are privileged to live in one of the greatest nations on the earth today. Unfortunately, many of the reasons that we have become great are being undermined or ignored in the education process of our nation. It is amazing how many people in America today think that we live in a democracy. This is not true. The founding fathers were scared to death of allowing the nation to totally rule our country. That is why they set up a democratic republic.

Different terms apply to different aspects of our country and its government and these different aspects can be basically broken into three categories:

  • The central government that has the power (the Federal government) is multi-level, and is comprised of a national governing body, individual states, and local entities (city and county).
  • The form of government we have (A Republic). Which simply means that the states have agreed to be bound together by a national governing body
  • How we run our system ( A Representative Democracy). In a direct democracy, the people control the government by voting on all issues, and a majority vote always wins. Because we elect officials to represent us, we have a representative democracy.

So in summary, we live in a Republic that is a Representative Democracy for our republic.

They also realized that if a people were to rule itself, they must have a high moral standard. This could only be had if they acknowledged the existence of a Supreme Being and followed the precepts He had set up in his communication with us. As we turn God out of our schools, courts, and lifestyles, we leave the only firm foundation for a moral society behind us.

We need to return not only to the study of God’s Word, but also to the study of the writings of our Founding Fathers and the actual documents which were a part of the beginning of this great land. There are several links to the right which have reproduced these documents. Because of our ignorance of the intent of our original government, our current government has skewed much of what is in the constitution. One example is the twisted use of the Separation of Church and State. (Click here to see an essay on this issue.) A separation was indeed intended by our forefathers. But one to deny a state religion, not to deny religion in the state.

I would urge any who read this to spend a bit of time learning about our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. Learn who your state and federal congressmen are. Talk to them, e-mail them, let them know your values and let them know that you will hold them accountable for their representation of them.

If our country deteriorates, the cause rests with each and every one of us. Not on someone else. Inform yourself and get involved. Help return the United States to the vision our forefathers had for us.

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We had the first hard freeze of the year. My boys have never seen a lot of snow or ice (and haven’t this year, either), so they made their own ski slope on our driveway. Anyone from up north will most likely laugh at our poor effort, but when you’re from Texas, sometimes you need to try to help things along.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

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I’ve been adding beads to my knitting using a sewing needle and thread to help get the beads on my yarn. I’m putting up a video for anyone who might be interested in seeing how I’ve been doing it.

I put a slightly weighted object at the end of my thread (just regular sewing thread), so it doesn’t matter how many beads are on it for it to have a bit of tension while working with it.  I also dulled the tip of my needle a bit with a fingernail file so I didn’t poke myself and get blood on my knitting.

I hold the thread between my little finger and ring finger so I can pick it up quickly when working a lot of beads on a row.  If you use a magnetic board, you can also drop the needle onto one of your magnets and it will hold it there until you are ready for it.

One of the advantages of this method is that you don’t have to accommodate the crochet hook and the yarn when trying to put the bead on.  You also don’t have to worry about splitting your yarn or dropping a stitch.

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I worked one bead after I knit the stitch, one before I knit the stitch and another one after I knit the stitch. The advantage of knitting the stitch first is that you can adjust the tension of the stitch to accommodate the bead. It will also sit where it looks like it is on a chart. If you place the bead before you knit it, you are actually putting it one row below where it shows on the chart.

Here is a picture showing that placement:

beading-with-a-needle

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