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The Big Lie: Church and State Separation ^ | June 27, 2002 | Scott Hogenson

Posted on 06/27/2002 6:09:15 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen

(Editor's Note: The following opinion piece was originally published by on July 4, 1999 and is reprinted this date in light of Wednesday's Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.)

One of the Left's greatest accomplishments is its use of language to defuse explosive issues and distort facts about matters in which liberalism has a vested interest. The contemporary debate over the role of government as it pertains to religion in America is one of the best examples of how this deception has succeeded.

The practical myth of "separation of church and state" is a prime example of how language is used to perpetuate a political lie. For the time being, this lie is pervasive in American society, with pseudo-intellectuals joining duplicitous liberals in invoking this phony argument with regularity.

Most recently, we've heard this leftist mantra invoked against a variety of school voucher programs, most of which represent the best chance poor, inner-city kids could have to escape a crumbling education system and rise above the circumstances of their birth.

Because voucher programs at the congressional level do not specifically exclude their use in parochial schools, the Left cries "separation of church and state" in efforts to kill the legislation. The Big Lie twists the constitutionally enshrined phrase "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," into an effort to protect powerful teachers unions at the expense of low-income families and their kids, manifesting itself as some of the meanest bigotry in America today.

This Big Lie is perpetuated because too few people see the absolute phoniness of it. Let us presume for a moment - and this is an enormous presumption - that liberal advocates of church and state separation truly mean what they say. Move this argument along its natural lines.

To acknowledge God is to repudiate atheism and establish a premise of faith. Therefore, the government must recall every scrap of U.S. currency because of the offending phrase "In God We Trust." Once the paper money has been confiscated, let's do the same with our coinage, which also carries this affront to our beloved Constitution and good atheists everywhere.

We must next fire Lloyd Ogilvie and James David Ford. They are the chaplains of the U.S. Senate and House, respectively. How ever are we to honor the constitutional premise of "separation of church and state" if the seat of government employs men of God? It represents a slippery slope indeed, for if we permit prayer in Congress, the next thing you know, there will be demands for prayer in school.

Once we've removed religion from our money and our Congress, we need to dive into the tax code and forbid the itemized deduction of charitable contributions to churches. If we are to separate church and state, we certainly cannot have the public treasury subsidizing worship.

Of course, it goes without saying that we must also revoke the tax exempt status of all churches as well, for this is an even more pernicious entanglement between the church and the state. If conservatives really believe in the forces of the free market, let churches compete on the same level playing field as other private enterprises.

Now let's redo the Veterans Administration college loan program. What an ironic tragedy it is when those who defended the Constitution by wearing the uniform of our country defile it by using their VA loans to attend institutions like Notre Dame and Villanova. Come to think of it, let's hunt down all the World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War and other veterans and revoke the degrees they earned at religious colleges and universities. Our Constitution will be stronger for this purge.

Speaking of veterans, what's this about all those military chaplains ministering to our sons and daughters in uniform? The last time I checked, they were paid with tax money. As a law-abiding taxpayer, I am outraged and demand an end to this insidious encroachment upon the values of the Constitution.

This is also an excellent opportunity to scrap the Declaration of Independence and remove it from all public schools and other forums. I don't know if you've read this thing, but it talks about people being "endowed by their Creator" and a reliance on "divine Providence" and a whole bunch of other religious stuff. Is there a better time than the Fourth of July to rid ourselves, our nation - our children! - of this sort of extremism? I should think not.

The fact of the matter is that church and state in America are and always have been inextricably linked. What the Left demands of us is that we ignore the gulf between the congressional "establishment" of religion and governmental support for the presence and practice of it. You may recall that immediately after forbidding Congress to establish a religion, the First Amendment guarantees the free practice of religion.

Liberals cherry pick issues in which to invoke the First Amendment in an effort to promote their political agenda, hoping that enough Americans are ignorant enough to let them get away with it. Our collective national ignorance has handed the Left victory after victory on this front, and they'll continue their manipulation of language to perpetuate the Big Lie on church and state issues as long as we permit it.

Scott Hogenson is the executive editor of

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TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events

1 posted on 06/27/2002 6:09:15 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
2 posted on 06/27/2002 6:34:38 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The First Amendment has been abused by liberals for years. But the tide is starting to turn. When the Boy Scouts' right to exclude known homosexual scoutmasters was upheld and when a church school was allowed to meet in school after school hours, both rights being guaranteed under the First Amendment, then you know that even the judges are getting fed up with the leftist nonsense.
3 posted on 06/27/2002 6:55:55 AM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: yendu bwam
...then you know that even the judges are getting fed up with the leftist nonsense.
But it seems that there are more liberal judges. The people vote for the judges that the media has backed. The liberal politicians' nomination of liberal judges are enabled by the lack of conservative backbone.
4 posted on 06/27/2002 7:25:51 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Another part of this "big lie" is the "incorporation" of the First Amendment, such that it is held to restrict the states, not just the federal goverment. Of course, by its text, the First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law..." Nobody, repeat nobody, understood the First Amendment to apply to actions by state goverments back when the Constitution was ratified. Indeed, at that time, many states actually had state religions! It was only in the 20th Century, supposedly applying the post-Civil War 14th Amendment (which really had nothing to do with the subject), that a liberal / statist Supreme Court suddenly discovered that indeed the First Amendment applies to the states, requires a separation of religion and state, etc...
5 posted on 06/27/2002 7:48:31 AM PDT by Stingray51
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The liberal politicians' nomination of liberal judges are enabled by the lack of conservative backbone.

Yeah, you're right on this. I hope Bush and the Senate Republicans don't lose their backbone in the face-off with Leahy. I think they're just waiting and hoping that Republicans will take back the Senate.

6 posted on 06/27/2002 7:56:18 AM PDT by yendu bwam
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To: Stand Watch Listen
There are two issues that I take with the lefts whole "seperation of church and state" clause.

The first is that "congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion" does not mean that there can be no expression of faith in any government endevor. Liberals are trying to turn that phrase into an athiest government clause but the constitution simply does not support that.

It never ceases to amaze me that liberals are essentially ignorant of history. They simply do not understand or have any knowledge of the true reasoning behind the notion of seperation of church and state. As a result of this willful ignorance they push forward an agenda that actually violates the very reasoning behind the seperation of the church and state. In their effort to expunge every last vestige of "God" from the public sector they are establishing an athiest government. Athiesm it could be reasonably argued IS a form of religion. a secular religion based on the denial of a diety.

Even if you dont accept the athiesm as religion argument it still violates the intent of the framers by virtue of the fact that it is establishing a government backed suppression of religious faith WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE FRAMERS WERE INTENDING TO PREVENT.

They did not write that clause to keep religion out of government...they wrote that clause to keep government out of religion. The clause was intended to prevent the government sanctioned religious bigotry that was rampant in England and other European countries. Where Cathlics were barred from government positions or even publish worship in one country and protestants in the next. Now we have accomplished the worst of all possible senarios...the banning of all public worship...period...or soon will if these liberals have their way.

FInally I would add that in this most recent ruling regarding the PLedge of Alegience, The liberals with their ignorance...or perhaps not ignorance but rather by intent, have succeeded in actually violating the first amendment. The protection of free speech is expressly stated in the COnstitution. For the courts to say that you may not say the word GOD in school is a DIRECT VIOLATION OF SOMEONES FREEDOM OF SPEECH. I can see how forcing someone to say the word GOD could be deemed a violation of their rights but the expression of belief that if not Mandatory under the law does not violate that. That has already been found in previous rulings. It is only when the God issue comes up that the courts cant seem to get there minds around it. It is plainly simple. If the government is not mandating that you practice religion then it is not establishing a religion. If it allows you to "opt out" of saying a pledge of allegience (which is in itself not a religious act or part of any religion what so ever) then it is not establishing a religion. It then becomes the expression fo an idea..not a faith. The Pledge of Allegience does not endorse any established religion. It does however allow for the xpression of a belief in a diety...however since it is not mandatory it is not an establishment but rather an act of free speech. For a court to say that I may not say the pledge of allegience because it has the word GOD in it has got to be the more egregious violation of my right to free speech.

What has happened to our country that we have courts that have determined that free speech is only free so long as it isnt offensive to anyone...why even bother having the free speech clause in the constitution if you are going to say that you cant have free speech if someone is going to be offended by what you say. The whole point of having a free speech clause is precisely to ensue that people are able to say things that others find offensive. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that you can not say the word god in school. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that you have the right to be unoffended in life. The declaration of Independance does not say life liberty and the lack of offensive material.

If the SUpreme Court in has an attack of the stupids in proportion to this rediculous ruling and finds that you cant say the word God on school grounds because it violates the seperation of church and state then the sooner we seperate the schools fromt he state the better. If we must have athiestic schools devoid of any free expression of faith that is not mandated but freely entered into because the school is attached to the state then the state should be detached fromthe schools. If the only thing our children are allowed to learn in public schools is atheism and liberalism because liberals find conservative messages offensive then lets put an end to public schools.

In short if having the government be involved in aspects of our lives means that religion must also be expunged from that aspect of our seems fairly straightforward that government shoul dnot be involved. Given the choice between expunging the church or expunging the state from my life their can be no doubt as to which choice I should make. And for all the athiests in the world who would bemoan the loss of public education...let them go and build athiest schools with whatever support they can muster....after all thats what parochial schools do.
7 posted on 06/27/2002 8:27:12 AM PDT by Prysson
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To: Prysson
If the 9th Circuit decision stands and the Supreme Court uphold this obvious violation of the Constitutional rights of American citizens, then I shall have to assume the honorable Justices are simply the victims of a public school education which didn't stress the benefits of reading, writing and 'rithmetic too well.

It's so simple, you have to have help to misunderstand it. We are a tolerant society, but I believe the pendulum is ready to swing in the other direction. That's the history of the world, folks -- every dog has its day. It is now time for all of us who have had to bite our tongues to start barking loudly.

8 posted on 06/27/2002 2:13:51 PM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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