| The missing Founding
Creator? The Supreme Court got Him:
As presently defined, there is no such thing as Constitutional "separation of church and state" in America
The concept in quotes, above, does not exist in the U.S. Constitution or its amendments. It is an invention by lawyers.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, among other things like free speech and a free press: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Do you see the words "separation of church and state" in that sentence?
What, then, is going on here?
Well, a very famous version of the U.S. Supreme Court, able to speak out of both sides of its group judicial mouth, many decades back decided that when the Founding Fathers were talking about establishment of religion, they actually meant references to or connection with God.
Any reference and any connection.
If the First Amendment had said "establishment of a religion" (if they had added that "a"), things might not have gotten all twisted up. But, in truth, even that might not have been enough. Probably, the Founding Fathers should have said "establishment of an official state or federally approved religion or church."
That would have stopped the criminal disfiguration. The pettyfoggers wouldn't have found a way to stab the amendment in the heart.
This sort of thing can drive a man crazy, but these are descriptive structures which are important to lawyers. Lawyers become judges. The laws of America from the U.S. Constitution to local statutes are defined by courts. If the wording of a a document will let them at your basic rights and freedoms, they'll use it. Leaving out that little "a" was like leaving the back door unlocked. The lawyers got in and stole the family treasure.
Translating ancient tongues into today's English
What does "establishment of religion" mean, and why did the Founding Fathers word the idea in that way?
Well, the majority of their ancestors came from Europe. England, France, Germany, etc. In those places in those days religious freedom was either repressed or against the law. Try building a Christian church, or even holding a Christian meeting, in even the most isolated areas of most Middle-Eastern nations today and you will understand.
There was the official state religion approved by the king, and that was it. When you put money in the collection plate, the government got a piece of the action. That is the reason the word "establishment" appears in that quote up above. If you would like it in modern English, try:
"Congress shall make no law which creates an official national church."
A national religion was created in England when Henry VIII wanted to get a divorce, and the Pope of the Roman Catholic church wouldn't let him do it. Henry said, "Okay, if the Catholic Church won't let me get rid of my wife, then I'll create an English church that will."
Thus, the official religion (church) there became the "Church of England." The Catholic Church was suddenly, like Christianity in Iran, today, a dangerous religion to practice. The Pilgrims didn't come to the New World to be free of God. They came here to be free to worship the God their church believed in.
No "Church of America"
It says "In God we trust" on the dollar bill. That, compared to the Constitution, is a much newer piece of business. When they did that, were they violating Original Intent?
Well, who were the Founding Fathers? Were they atheists? Did they wish no religious connections to the government they had in mind? Of course not. Look at the Declaration of Independance. All men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Look at the oaths of office they wrote. Look at the speeches they made. Look at the walls of the Supreme Court, for God's Sake. Their non-sectarian God is everywhere.
Separation of church and state is liberal claptrap -- a kind of legal spin that equates the term "god" with the term "church" to achieve their political goal. What is that goal? It's a process which is aimed at eliminating the wall hook from which the Constitution hangs. Get rid of God, and guess where your fundamental rights originate, then.
God's rules cannot be changed by legislative manipulation or executive fiat. But, rights which come from government are a very different thing. They can be changed by government.
Liberals worship government. Liberal judges from liberal law schools like Harvard infest the U.S. Supreme Court. As described earlier in this text, judges like that bypassed original intent with subsequent rulings on this subject. It is called "legislation by judicial fiat." (Creating law without going through the legislative branch -- in this case, Congress.) The arrogance of progressives is without limit. You should get rid of as many of them as you can in the next election -- particularly in the U.S. Senate. That's where presidential Supreme Court nominees get the thumbs up or thumbs down.
I repeat: There is no such thing as the separation of church and state, where "church" is a legal synonym for "god." All that's in the Constitution is a denial of the government's ability to force you to worship in an official government church. That's the "separation of church and state" the Founding Fathers had in mind.
Much of the U.S. Constitution is about this kind of thing -- what the government is not allowed to do.
The U.S. Constitution is a document whose most important contents puts handcuffs on government. It didn't create a government as much as it created limits on the concept of government. The colonists feared government, and with good reason. Unshackled from limitations, all government travels in one direction, only: towards increasing power over its citizens. Towards one degree or another of controlling the lives and property of those citizens.
That's why the Founding Fathers made it un-constitutional for Congress to create an official state church, then infused our original documents with their generic God. They knew what would happen if their and your rights didn't come from a source above those in positions of legal, official, statutory power.
They had lived their entire lives under a government which had no limitations, and didn't like the experience one bit.
(LL -- this piece is an updated revision of a former editorial in the magazine. Some people didn't understand the point, so I'm giving it another try, here.)
© 2011 Oregon Magazine