Skip to comments.The Myth Behind "Separation of Church and State"
Posted on 11/08/2004 11:59:43 AM PST by Tailgunner Joe
click here to read article
Bump for later.
Amen! Now convince the left of this fact and we are all set!
Thanks. I've had a number of debates of this issue with the opposition quoting the ACLU's wrong-headed position that's so prevalent today.
I knew that the "doctrine of separation of church and state" was a canard, but I did not know the history of it.
You may wish to read my thoughts on militant secularism at redbay.blospot.com
Thanks AGAIN TG- you are FULL of useful info today- much appreciated by this freeper:)
My apologies to Alan Keyes. He has been making this claim for quite some time. Although I like Mr. Keyes very much, I thought he was a bit out on the limb on this one. I was wrong. It looks like Alan Keyes was exactly right.
The First Amendment simply means that the government will not establish an official state religion as for example the Church of England in Britain, which many American immigrants previously suffered under. It has nothing to do with divorcing religion and religious sentiments from government.
Everson v. Board of Education...one of FDR nominees to the Supreme Court in an effort to pack the court...Justice Hugo Black...created this "separation of church and state" and essentially outlawed prayer in schools. Alan Keyes has always made the point that the First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion (national religion) and Congress is a branch of the Federal Government.
Bump for Church
"This country was established upon the assumption that religion was essential to good government."
I bet you are all for the first line but let me ask you, what if it was Islamic integration into our government?
Absolutely not, but you shouldn't pretend as if everything is relative.
I've known this for some time. However the ACLU and their ilk have told their lie so often that most believe it true. Hopefully, W will be able to appoint a few pure jurists to the SCOTUS and set us back on course.
Instead of citing the Constitution, the Supreme Court decided instead to use a letter written by a man who was neither at the drafting nor ratification of the document. Not only that, the letter had been written a full decade after the fact.
It is also worth noting that in doing so, they created law from whole cloth, something the SCOTUS does not have the authority to do. As the Constitution they chose to ignore spelled out, creating law is something exclusive to the Legislative Branch of government, otherwise known as Congress.
This makes the ruling that created this church/state seperation wholly unconstitutional.
As a teacher, I don't mind religion in the schools, but this often means today that I support religion in the schools, as long as it is one that I don't oppose. My brother was prohibited by some so-called Christians (not the school system at all) from giving a graduation prayer because he was of a religion that some did not agree with, even though many people of different religions had done it before.
Contrary to what some belief, much religion has been taken out of the schools by lawsuits filed by those who opposed the school doing something that was done by a religion that they opposed or of "fear" of being offended by someone doing something from that religion. For example, in my state, a high school could not sing deity-linked Christmas songs because a Jewish student and her parents sued to have the school choir not do it. A Mormon in Texas sued to have school prayer removed. Fortunately in my school, we do observe moments of silence at some times and also sing all sorts of Christmas songs. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"The 'wall of separation between church and state' phrase as understood by Jefferson was never meant to exclude people of faith from influencing and shaping government. Jefferson would be shocked to learn that his letter has been used as a weapon against religion."
This is one part of the "anti-separation of church and state" argument that I have always found not just unconvincing, but misleading. People of faith, as evidenced by the recent election, influence politics and government all the time, and this is as it should be. The President can quote scripture in speeches, include homilies, etc. Congress can start each day with a prayer. Religious people can elect religious legislators who shape law based on religious principle. Happens all the time.
Some of us who still advocate this "separation" of church and state do so based on the idea that government should not be in the business of advancing a specific religion in its official acts. Christians are free to shape and influence government, but government has no business in shaping or influencing the religious faith, Christian or otherwise, of the people. More plainly put, government should not be in the religion business.
One of the arguments I've rarely seen well addressed over such issues as school prayer is on what religion should such prayers be based. The answer is usually either "we're a Christian nation, so prayers should be non-sectarian Christian prayers" or "prayers should reflect the faith of the community." The problem is that like it or not, America is a pluralistic nation, and while most Americans profess to be Christian, nearly every "community" will contain people of different faiths or different brands of Christianity. Whose faith prevails? This is one area where "majority rules" doesn't hold. Just as Christians would be understandably outraged if schools required the reading of Mulsim prayers or perhaps Dyanetics, others may be outraged by similar treatment of Christian prayers.
Federalist arguments that the states are or should be free to regulate these matters have a better provenance but the history is still complex. But the so-called "wall of separation of church and state," to my mind, in no way inhibits Christians or other people of faith from influencing government.
Of course, I've never quite gotten the apparent need of some Christians for government to legitimize their faith by supporting Christian prayer or religious displays.
They even banned a state license plate in Louisiana that said "Choose Life" because they said it violated Separation of Church and State. What part of "Choose Life" is a religious message? Can't the irreligious choose life too? Including the word "choose" did not faze the baby murderers one bit, because they don't really want choice. It's not really about choice, it's about killing off the babies of sections of the populace they don't like.
Massachusetts Constitution; First Part, Article II (1780) "The governor shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless...he shall declare himself to be of the Christian religion."
Massachusetts Constitution; Chapter VI, Article I (1780) "[All persons elected to State office or to the Legislature must] make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. 'I,_____, do declare, that I believe the Christian religion, and have firm persuasion of its truth..'.."
Pennsylvania Constitution; Declaration of Rights II (1776) "...Nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged to any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship."
Pennsylvania Constitution; Frame of Government, Section 10 (1776) "And each member [of the legislature]...shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.: 'I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder to the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.'"
Pennsylvania Constitution; Article IX, Section 4 (1790) "that no person, who acknowledges the being of a God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth."
South Carolina Constitution; Article XXXVIII (1778) "That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed...to be the established religion of this State."
Vermont Constitution; Frame of Government, Section 9 (1777) "And each member [of the legislature],...shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz.: 'I do believe in one god, the Creator and Governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the scriptures of the old and new testament to be given by divine inspiration, and own and profess the protestant religion.'"
So, it was really enacted to ensure the mixing of state and church, the opposite of what we're taught in school. And, in case you're curious, Virginia was the only state w/o the requirement, but they were on their way to getting one in place. And, Massachusetts was the last state to get rid of these laws (1831, I believe).
Yep...I saw Prof Amar give a talk on God and the Constitution and my mouth hung open when he related these facts about religious barriers and the states. I bought the book and was happy I did. Even though he leans liberal, he is that rare lib, dedicated to historical accuracy. Thansk for posting this, TJ.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
The treaty was ratified by Congress and signed by then-President John Adams, who proudly proclaimed it to the country.
As even a casual examination of the annotated translation of 1930 shows, the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic; and even as such its defects throughout are obvious and glaring. Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point ...evidence of the erroneous character of the Barlow translation has been in the archives of the Department of State since perhaps 1800 or thereabouts; for in the handwriting of James Leander Cathcart is the statement ...that the Barlow translation is "extremely erroneous." - Miller, Hunter. "The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: The Barbary Treaties: Tripoli 1796. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/barbary/bar1796n.htm
There are four documents in the Department of State file of this treaty.
The first to be noted is that which contains the original treaty. It is a book in the literal sense. There are fourteen pages of Arabic text;
As even a casual examination of the annotated translation of 1930 shows, the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic; and even as such its defects throughout are obvious and glaring. Most extraordinary (and wholly unexplained) is the fact that Article 11 of the Barlow translation, with its famous phrase, "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," does not exist at all. There is no Article 11. The Arabic text which is between Articles 10 and 12 is in form a letter, crude and flamboyant and withal quite unimportant, from the Dey of Algiers to the Pasha of Tripoli. How that script came to be written and to be regarded, as in the Barlow translation, as Article 11 of the treaty as there written, is a mystery and seemingly must remain so. Nothing in the diplomatic correspondence of the time throws any light whatever on the point
A further and perhaps equal mystery is the fact that since 1797 the Barlow translation has been trustfully and universally accepted as the just equivalent of the Arabic. Its text was not only formally proclaimed as such but has been continuously printed and reprinted as such; and yet evidence of the erroneous character of the Barlow translation has been in the archives of the Department of State since perhaps 1800 or thereabouts; for in the handwriting of James Leander Cathcart is the statement quoted above that the Barlow translation is "extremely erroneous"; and while the Italian translation of the Arabic text on which that endorsement appears, presents its own linguistic difficulties, largely owing to its literal rendering and its consequent non-literary character as Italian, it is none the less in essence a reasonable equivalent of the Arabic. Indeed, allowing for the crudeness of the original Arabic and the changes which always result from a retranslation, it may be said that a rendering of the Italian translation into English gives a result which is in general not dissimilar from the English translation of Doctor Snouck Hurgronje of 1930; and of course the most cursory examination of the Italian translation would show (assuming the Italian to be even an approximation of the Arabic), that the Barlow translation, as Cathcart wrote, was "extremely erroneous"; but nothing indicating that the Italian translation was even consulted has been found, and it does not appear that it was ever before 1930 put into English. Some account of the Italian translation as a document is given above.
Some did and some didn't. That's why each state was allowed to decide for themselves. It's called Federalism.
Please see posts 31 and 32. The "translation" of that treaty is bogus, in fact it's an outright fabrication. No such clause was ever ratified.
The phrase "separation of church and state" isn't in the US constitution, but it is in the Soviet Union's Constitution. Too bad for you the USSR is no more. You can still move to France though if you prefer official godlessness.
Just to clarify, Yale Law school has it wrong but you have it correct?
The official treaty is in arabic (which is what the problem is). I don't read arabic. And I think I'll take Yale Law Schools word over yours. (Yale being such a bastion of conservatism)
And just to clarify further, the Treaty of Tripoli isn't the Constitution nor does it equal it.
My policy is to never believe what anyone says (especially if it supports your view)
Then the whole point is arguement and not debate.
Yup. I had checked him out a few days ago and noticed the threads he posts on.
That is how I found out he was digging up a thread almost 2 years old. ; )
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.