Thanks. This is definitely a good thread.
Thomas clearly points out that only since the 14th amendment applied the BOR to the states have state establishments of religion been prohibited even pointing out the "irony" that "an incorporated Establishment Clause prohibits exactly what the Establishment Clause protected--state practices that pertain to "an establishment of religion.
There is no irony, thats exactly where Thomas, [and you] are confused. -- Thomas wrote:
"But even assuming that the Establishment Clause precludes the Federal Government from establishing a national religion, it does not follow that the Clause created or protects any individual right."
The 1st's "establishment clause" was intended, in part, to prevent the establishments of sectarian religions from ruling over the lives of 'We the People'.
We fought for freedom from such old world concepts.
That ~is~ the "individual right".
"For the reasons discussed above, it is more likely that States and only States were the direct beneficiaries. Moreover, incorporation of this putative individual right leads to a peculiar outcome:
It would prohibit precisely what the Establishment Clause was intended to protect--state establishments of religion.
Exactly. -- To protect our individual right to be free of State supported religions, 'we' demanded freedom ~from~ such religions as well as freedom ~of~ religion.
Such a right is not "putative", not supposed.. It is very real.
Try to tell me I have to support a State Church, And I will run for the ballot box, and also to the Courts for redress.
Insist that I do so, -- and unintended consequences may arise.
Justice Joseph Story was even more explicit: "The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects [denominations] and to prevent any national ecclesiastical patronage of the national government." - Commentaries on the Constitution
Your nationalist interpretation of the BOR does not resemble the intent of the Founders and is inimical to federalism.