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Church, state 'wall' not idea of Jefferson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES ^ | August 5, 2002 | Larry Witham

Posted on 08/04/2002 11:55:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Edited on 07/12/2004 3:56:04 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

New research on Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state shows that Jefferson never intended it to be the iron curtain of today, which instead was built on anti-Catholic legal views in the 1940s.

Though the new scholarship has received good reviews for exploding a "Jeffersonian myth" about a wall against religion, others say it is too late to tear down a barrier that Americans feel comfortable with.


(Excerpt) Read more at washtimes.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Front Page News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: firstammendment; liberty; religion

1 posted on 08/04/2002 11:55:06 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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Bump for later book-buying....
2 posted on 08/05/2002 12:20:41 AM PDT by toenail
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To: nickcarraway
Time to rub salt into wounds.

The KKK, not Jefferson, is responsible for the false separation of Church and State. Jefferson is only responsible for opposing the State Establishment of religion.

People here, influenced by the KKK cannot seem to understand the difference between the establishment of a State religion and legal political religious views.

3 posted on 08/05/2002 3:41:24 AM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: Maelstrom
. Jefferson is only responsible for opposing the State Establishment of religion.

4 posted on 08/05/2002 6:30:15 AM PDT by USA21
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To: USA21
That's what I said.
5 posted on 08/05/2002 7:13:00 AM PDT by Maelstrom
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To: nickcarraway
"It was an open secret that 'sectarian' was a code for 'Catholic,'" Justice Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion two years ago.

That's hardly surprising -- most of the wrangling caused by religious entanglements into American politics was between Catholics and Protestants, for obvious reasons. The fact that the Protestant majority saw church-state questions as an issue between themselves on one hand and Catholics on the other wasn't "bigotry", it was a simple reflection of experience.

6 posted on 08/05/2002 7:24:48 AM PDT by steve-b
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To: nickcarraway
too late to tear down a barrier that Americans feel comfortable with

What Americans are comfortable with this concept? I, for one, agree that there should be no state established religion, but this concept has been used to eliminate any religious presence in out society - and that is wrong, and was never the intent of the Founders

7 posted on 08/05/2002 8:29:04 AM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: nickcarraway
Very interesting. Bookmarked.
8 posted on 08/05/2002 1:11:59 PM PDT by kidd
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To: nickcarraway
In the Supreme Court's 1947 Everson decision — forbidding New Jersey to spend state education funds for religious education — Justice Black cited the phrase "wall of separation between Church & State," from Jefferson's Jan. 1, 1802, letter to a group of Baptists in Massachusetts.

I'm not a lawyer, but hopefully someone in this thread is. It would seem to me that once the Constitution was written and ratified, comments made by any of the Founders over a decade later shouldn't have any more relevance to a Supreme Court decision than a comment you or I might happen to make. Am I wrong to think this?

9 posted on 08/05/2002 1:33:35 PM PDT by Timesink
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To: nickcarraway
BTTT
10 posted on 08/05/2002 2:02:10 PM PDT by EdReform
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Timesink
comments made by any of the Founders over a decade later shouldn't have any more relevance to a Supreme Court decision than a comment you or I might happen to make

I'll 2nd That....

I so belive Thomas Jeff was speaking of a limited firewall, that is, prevent a specific domain {the government} from dictating religon, as such was the rage in the 18/19th century...

12 posted on 08/05/2002 2:13:33 PM PDT by TeleStraightShooter
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To: Timesink
Am I wrong to think this?

No -- especially if Driesbach is correct in his assertion that Jefferson's letter was a campaign ploy aimed at trying to gain the support of the Baptists, whose opposition to the Congregationalists was due in large part to the fact that the latter were the established religion in the State of Massachusetts.

13 posted on 08/05/2002 2:22:14 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: nickcarraway
There never was a wall of separation as the liberals would have us believe.If that were true then persons who belong to a church should not be taxed.If you can collect taxes from religious people and give them to public schools then you should collect taxes from non-believers and give them to religious schools.Just the fact that money is only travelling in one direction proves there is NO WALL.An actual wall would keep it on each of their respective sides.
14 posted on 08/05/2002 2:22:39 PM PDT by INSENSITIVE GUY
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To: TeleStraightShooter
Exactly.....in a minute I will be posting a huge post of links and quotes on this thread.
15 posted on 08/05/2002 2:26:29 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
bump
16 posted on 08/05/2002 2:26:39 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
bump
17 posted on 08/05/2002 2:26:50 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
bump
18 posted on 08/05/2002 2:26:59 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
bump
19 posted on 08/05/2002 2:27:08 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
Relevant Citations and Quotations on the First Amendment's intent (from official sources whenever possible):

1. Madison supported a bill to punish Sabbath breakers in Virginia (he introduced it and Jefferson supported it...possibly even wrote it).

"As a state legislator, however, he [Jefferson] partook in a sweeping revision of Virginia’s laws, which included: A Bill for Punishing Disturbers of Religious Worship and Sabbath Breakers; A Bill for Appointing Days of Public Fasting and Thanksgiving; and A Bill Annulling Marriages Prohibited by the Levitical Law, and Appointing the Mode of Solemnizing Lawful Marriage. Reprinted in 2 The Papers of Thomas Jefferson 555-558 (J. Boyd ed. 1950)."

From: http://camlaw.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/elliott_footnotes.htm, which is the footnotes to this page: http://www-camlaw.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/elliott.htm

"In this same year, Madison presented to Virginia legislators "A Bill for Punishing . . . Sabbath Breakers" which provided, in part:

'If any person on Sunday shall himself be found labouring at his own or any other trade or calling, or shall employ his apprentices, servants or slaves in labour, or other business, except it be in the ordinary household offices of daily necessity, or other work of necessity or charity, he shall forfeit the sum of ten shillings for every such offence, deeming every apprentice, servant, or slave so employed, and every day he shall be so employed as constituting a distinct offence.'"

From: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=366&invol=420

Based upon the Rutgers information, it appears Jefferson had a hand in the law (speculation is that he actually wrote it). Madison was the one that actually introduced the law.

2. Madison said the First Amendment was only intended to prohibit a national religion (as recorded in the Annals of Congress).

This proposed amendment is the start of the process toward the First Amendment, as best as I can tell:

"The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=227

A later discussion on the First Amendment in August of 1789:

"Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/ll/llac/001/0300/03810757.tif

3. Jefferson went to church IN THE CAPITOL.

At the Library of Congress website, two different people detail Jefferson taking part at church services in the capitol.

From: http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html

4. Jefferson wrote in letters that he opposed making one religious
sect legally above another (the real meaning of the establishment clause).

Kentucky Resolution (not a letter, but important anyway):

"And that in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares that "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": thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violates either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field">http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field( href="mailto:DOCID+@lit">DOCID+@lit(tj080201))

Letter to Elbridge Gerry (1799):

"I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another: for freedom of the press, & against all violations of the constitution to silence By force & not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field">http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field( href="mailto:DOCID+@lit">DOCID+@lit(tj090014))

Letter to Benjamin Rush (1800):

"The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field">http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field( href="mailto:DOCID+@lit">DOCID+@lit(tj090069))

Letter to Samuel Miller:

"I consider the government of the US. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U. S. Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority."

From: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field">http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/mtj:@field( href="mailto:DOCID+@lit">DOCID+@lit(tj110010))

5. Jefferson gave FEDERAL funds to missionaries.

Kaskaskia Indians:

From the treaty-----
"And whereas, The greater part of the said tribe have been baptised and received into the Catholic church to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for the said tribe the duties of his office and also to instruct as many of their children as possible in the rudiments of literature. And the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church."

From: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol2/treaties/kas0067.htm

Jefferson clearly supports the treaty:

"Another important acquisition of territory has also been made since the last session of Congress. The friendly tribe of Kaskaskia Indians, with which we have never had a difference, reduced by the wars and wants of savage life to a few individuals unable to defend themselves against the neighboring tribes, has transferred its country to the United States, reserving only for its members what is sufficient to maintain them in an agricultural way. The considerations stipulated are that we shall extend to them our patronage and protection and give them certain annual aids in money, in implements of agriculture, and other articles of their choice. This country, among the most fertile within our limits, extending along the Mississippi from the mouth of the Illinois to and up to the Ohio, though not so necessary as a barrier since the acquisition of the other bank, may yet be well worthy of being laid open to immediate settlement, as its inhabitants may descend with rapidity in support of the lower country should future circumstances expose that to foreign enterprise. As the stipulations in this treaty involve matters with the competence of both Houses only, it will be laid before Congress as soon as the Senate shall have advised its ratification."

From: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/tj3/speeches/tjson3.htm

"In this resolution, Congress makes public lands available to a group for religious purposes. Responding to a plea from Bishop John Ettwein (1721-1802), Congress voted that 10,000 acres on the Muskingum River in the present state of Ohio "be set apart and the property thereof be vested in the Moravian Brethren . . . or a society of the said Brethren for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity." The Delaware Indians were the intended beneficiaries of this Congressional resolution."

From: http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html

"Later sessions of Congress extended the United Brethren’s trusteeship to these land grants--with some related legislation signed even by President Jefferson who was certainly not going to object to continuing these contractual agreements made by previous administrations."

In other words, Jefferson did have a hand in this legislation being extended, though not to the extent that he extended this legislation all by himself, as some conservatives claim.

From: http://www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/indian.html

Note: The previous info is from a strong separationist website, not some crazy right-winger's website.

6. The Northwest Ordinance encourages religion and morality to be taught in schools.

Selection from the Ordinance:

"Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

From: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/nworder.htm

7. During the Civil War the military mandated church service attendance for soldiers.

"Invoking the words of the sainted George Washington, Abraham Lincoln issues a general order "respecting the observance of the Sabbath day in the Army."

EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, November 15, 1862. The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine will, demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity....At this time of public distress, adopting the words of Washington in 1776, "men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality." The first general order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended: "The general hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country." ABRAHAM LINCOLN."

Heavens, if this isn't a violation of separation of church and state as currently described, I don't know what is.

From: http://www.civilweek.com/1862/nov0962.htm

8. Both state and federal courts supported religion in the public sphere in
most cases prior to the 20th century.

People v. Ruggles, Supreme Court of New York (1811):

"Kent, Ch. J. delivered the opinion of the Court. The offence charged is, that the defendant below did "wickedly, maliciously, and blasphemously utter, in the presence and hearing of divers good and christian people, these false, feigned, scandalous, malicious, wicked and blasphemous words, to wit, "Jesus Christ was a bastard, and his mother must be a whore;" and the single question is, whether this be a public offence by the law of the land. After conviction, we must intend that these words were uttered in a wanton manner, and, as they evidently import, with a wicked and malicious disposition, and not in a serious discussion upon any controverted point in religion. The language was blasphemous not only in a popular, but in a legal sense; for blasphemy, according to the most precise definitions, consists in maliciously reviling God, or religion, and this was reviling christianity through its author. (Emlyn's Preface to the State Trials, p. 8. See, also, Whitlock's Speech, State Trials, vol. 2, 273.) The jury have passed upon the intent or quo animo, and if those words spoken, in any case, will amount to a misdemeanor, the indictment is good...

The free, equal, and undisturbed, enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free and decent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured; but to revile, with malicious and blasphemous contempt, the religion professed by almost the whole community, is an abuse of that right. Nor are we bound, by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the grand Lama; and for this plain reason, that the case assumes that we are a christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors. Besides, the offence is crimen malitiae, and the imputation of malice could not be inferred from any invectives upon superstitions equally false and unknown. We are not to be restrained from animadversion upon offences against public decency, like those committed by Sir Charles Sedley, (1 Sid. 168,) or by one Rollo, (Sayer, 158,) merely because there may be savage tribes, and perhaps semibarbarous nations, whose sense of shame would not be affected by what we should consider the most audacious outrages upon decorum. It is sufficient that the common law checks upon words and actions, dangerous to the public welfare, apply to our case, and are suited to the condition of this and every other people whose manners are refined, and whose morals have been elevated and inspired with a more enlarged benevolence, by means of the christian religion.

Though the constitution has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial cognisance of those offences against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment, or to any particular form of government, but are punishable because they strike at the root of moral obligation, and weaken the security of the social ties."

From: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendI_religions59.html

Commonwealth v. Kneeland, Supreme Court of Massachusetts (1838):

"But another ground for anesting the judgment, and one apparently most relied on and urged by the defendant, is, that this statute itself is repugnant to the constitution ... and therefore wholly void. . . . [This law] was passed very soon after the adoption of the constitution, and no doubt, many members of the convention which framed the constitution, were members of the legislature which passed this law."

Note: The Constitution mentioned is the Massachusetts Constitution.

Even though this case does not refer to the First Amendment, it is relevant because it shows that the First Amendment was not intended to control state actions on blasphemy laws.

From: http://members.tripod.com/~candst/case08.htm

Davis v. Beason, U.S. Supreme Court (1890):

"It was never intended or supposed that the [First] amendment could be invoked as a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order and morals of society. With man's relations to his Maker and the obligations he may think they impose, and the manner in which an expression shall be made by him of his belief on those subjects, no interference can be permitted, provided always the laws of society, designed to secure its peace and prosperity, and the morals of its people, are not interfered with. However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country, passed with reference to actions regarded by general consent as properly the subjects of punitive legislation. There have been sects which denied as a part of their religious tenets that there should be any marriage tie, and advocated promiscuous intercourse of the sexes as prompted by the passions of its members. And history discloses the fact that the necessity of human sacrifices, on special occasions, has been a tenet of many sects. Should a sect of either of these kinds ever find its way into this country, swift punishment would follow the carrying into effect of its doctrines, and no heed would be given to the pretence that, as religious beliefs, their supporters could be protected in their exercise by the Constitution of the United States. Probably never before in the history of this country has it been seriously contended that the whole punitive power of the government for acts, recognized by the general consent of the Christian world in modern times as proper matters for prohibitory legislation, must be suspended in order that the tenets of a religious sect encouraging crime may be carried out without hindrance...

It is assumed by counsel of the petitioner, that because no mode of worship can be established or religious tenets enforced in this country (**note from me inserted here: this is the real intent of the First Amendment**), therefore any form of worship may be followed and any tenets, however destructive of society, may be held and advocated, if asserted to be a part of the religious doctrines of those advocating and practicing them. But nothing is further from the truth. Whilst legislation for the establishment of a religion is forbidden, and its free exercise permitted, it does not follow that everything which may be so called can be tolerated. Crime is not the less odious because sanctioned by what any particular sect may designate as religion."

Note: This is after the 14th Amendment.

From: http://www.founding.com/library/lbody.cfm?id=500&parent=66

Vidal v. Girard's Executioners (1844):

"But the objection itself assumes the proposition that Christianity [*200] is not to be taught, because ecclesiastics are not to be instructors or officers. But this is by no means a necessary or legitimate inference from the premises. Why may not laymen instruct in the general principles of Christianity as well as ecclesiastics. There is no restriction as to the religious opinions of the instructors and officers. They may be, and doubtless, under the auspices of the city government, they will always be, men, not only distinguished for learning and talent, but for piety and elevated [**192] virtue, and holy lives and characters. And we cannot overlook the blessings, which such men by their conduct, as well as their instructions, may, nay must impart to their youthful pupils. Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college -- its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay-teachers? Certainly there is nothing in the will, that proscribes such studies. Above all, the testator positively enjoins, "that all the instructors and teachers in the college shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that on their entrance into active life they may from inclination and habit evince benevolence towards their fellow-creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to prefer." Now, it may well be asked, what is there in all this, which is positively [**193] enjoined, inconsistent with the spirit or truths of Christianity? Are not these truths all taught by Christianity, although it teaches much more? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the sacred volume?...

It has hitherto been thought sufficient, if he does not require any thing to be taught inconsistent with Christianity.

Looking to the objection therefore in a mere juridical view, which is the only one in which we are at liberty to consider it, we are satisfied that there is nothing in the devise establishing the college, or in the regulations and restrictions contained therein, which are inconsistent with the Christian religion, or are opposed to any known policy of the state of Pennsylvania."
From: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mazur/courses/documents/vidal.html

9. The "wall of separation of church and state" is not from a legally binding document and was simply an attempt at mitigating fears of Baptists that a state religion would be established (if it meant more Jefferson could not have done many of the things he did).

Quotation from letter:

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

This was a letter that was privately written due to Baptist concerns of an established church being formed. Jefferson wrote to reassure them. This is not a good document by itself as a judicial framework. It can be used with other documents, but to build a judicial principle of a wall of separation out of this phrase is not logical nor right.

From: http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/thomas_jefferson/letter_to_baptists.html

20 posted on 08/05/2002 2:45:22 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: rwfromkansas
great list of links in your post #20, rwfromkansas!
21 posted on 08/05/2002 5:28:32 PM PDT by VOA
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To: nickcarraway
Here is an excerpt from a key Supreme Court opinion on the Establishment Clause, which considers the history and purpose of that part of the First Amendment. It is a little long and dry but for those familiar with the issues it shouldn't be difficult. Some of the principles enunciated here have been 'refined' more recently.

Reynolds v. United States

The word "religion" is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning, and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted. The precise point of the inquiry is, what is the religious freedom which has been guaranteed.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, attempts were made in some of the colonies and States to legislate not only in respect to the establishment of religion, but in respect to its doctrines and precepts as well. The people were taxed, against their will, for the support of religion, and sometimes for the support of particular sects to whose tenets they could not and did not subscribe. Punishments were prescribed for a failure to attend upon public worship, and sometimes for entertaining heretical opinions. The controversy upon this general subject was animated in many of the States, but seemed at last to culminate in Virginia.In 1784, the House of Delegates of that State having under consideration "a bill establishing provision for teachers of the Christian religion," postponed it until the next session, and directed that the bill should be published and distributed, and that the people be requested "to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of such a bill at the next session of assembly."

This brought out a determined opposition. Amongst others, Mr. Madison prepared a "Memorial and Remonstrance," which was widely circulated and signed, and in which he demonstrated "that religion, or the duty we owe the Creator," was not within the cognizance of civil government. Semple's Virginia Baptists, Appendix. At the next session the proposed bill was not only defeated, but another, "for establishing religious freedom," drafted by Mr. Jefferson, was passed. In the preamble of this act religious freedom is defined; and after a recital "that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty," it is declared "that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order." In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.

In a little more than a year after the passage of this statute the convention met which prepared the Constitution of the United States." Of this convention Mr. Jefferson was not a member, he being then absent as minister to France. As soon as he saw the draft of the Constitution proposed for adoption, he, in a letter to a friend, expressed his disappointment at the absence of an express declaration insuring the freedom of religion, but was willing to accept it as it was, trusting that the good sense and honest intentions of the people would bring about the necessary alterations. Five of the States, while adopting the Constitution, proposed amendments. Three -- New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia -- included in one form or another a declaration of religious freedom in the changes they desired to have made, as did also North Carolina, where the convention at first declined to ratify the Constitution until the proposed amendments were acted upon.

Accordingly, at the first session of the first Congress the amendment now under consideration was proposed with others by Mr. Madison. It met the views of the advocates of religious freedom, and was adopted. Mr. Jefferson afterwards, in reply to an address to him by a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, took occasion to say:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, -- I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.
Reynolds v. United States

22 posted on 08/05/2002 6:07:48 PM PDT by Looking for Diogenes
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To: nickcarraway
1) I'm sorry that many people feel the only legitimate excuse to attack the ACLU-worldview is by the liberal/enlightenment tactic of crying "bigotry."

2) The First Amendment applies only to Congress. It has no authority over state governments, school boards, football game pre-game activities, or whether or not your Mama may wash your mouth out with soap for saying the "f"-word.

2) The "Bill of Rights" was a mistake anyway. It began in hypocrisy (to restrict the federal government with interfering with slavery) and has transmogrified into a positive guarantee of rights that supposedly gives the Federal Government the authority to outlaw all the above activities.

3) Regarless of what Jefferson meant, he was an enlightenment deist, as were most of the Founders. Ultimately G-d is a greater authority than any human document and it is unnecessary to appeal to human authority for the "right" to obey G-d.

23 posted on 08/05/2002 7:36:29 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
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To: nickcarraway
bttt for reading tomorrow
24 posted on 08/05/2002 7:40:27 PM PDT by NeoCaveman
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To: Looking for Diogenes
The case was not dealing with the establishment clause at the core; it was dealing with the free exercise clause and whether a Mormon could use religion to practice polygamy.

This is what the court ruled as to the amount of religious freedom that was granted (religious freedom *the free exercise clause*) is what your post was discussing.

"This being so, the only question which remains is, whether those who make polygamy a part of their religion are excepted from the operation of the statute. If they are, then those who do not make polygamy a part of their religious belief may be found guilty and punished, while those who do, must be acquitted and go free. This would be introducing a new element into criminal law. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile of her dead husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?"
25 posted on 08/05/2002 7:41:06 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: Zionist Conspirator
While I agree with your point of view on this issue (read my post 20 I think it is), I want to bring up something about this point:

"2) The First Amendment applies only to Congress. It has no authority over state governments, school boards, football game pre-game activities, or whether or not your Mama may wash your mouth out with soap for saying the "f"-word."

You are correct that the First Amendment was intended to apply to the federal govt. However, some would argue the 14th Amendment expaned this to the states. You need to be able to refute these people because they are the majority today. I know of one case that was decided after the 14th Amendment that didn't torture its intent (I have it in my post number 20). But, it is difficult to find enough stuff to overturn such people's arguments since everyone....even many conservatives, unfortunately agree that the 14th Amendment made the bill of rights apply to the states.

26 posted on 08/05/2002 7:45:37 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: Timesink
Info on said letter:

Thomas Jefferson on Separation of Church and State

The Danbury Baptist Association, concerned about religious liberty in the new nation wrote to President Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 7, 1801.

Sir, Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyd in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Majestracy in the United States; And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.

Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty -- That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted on the Basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, and such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degradingacknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretense of government & Religion should reproach their fellow men -- should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial affect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cald you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.

Signed in behalf of the Association.

Nehh Dodge
Ephram Robbins
The Committee
Stephen S. Nelson


Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut were persecuted because they were not part of the Congretationalist establishment in that state.

On January 1, 1802, in response to the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

Gentlemen:

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which are so good to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Thomas Jefferson

Sources: Robert S. Alley, Professor of Humanites, Emeritus, University of Richmond, from his article, "Public Education and the Public Good," published in William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Summer 1995. And Lipscomb, Andrew and Bergh, Albert, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 16, pp. 281-282.
27 posted on 08/05/2002 7:46:37 PM PDT by AD from SpringBay
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To: VOA
thanks. I might make it a new thread in itself. I initially made it for a bunch of atheist Newdow supporters (hence why I have stuff from infidels.org etc...trying to use info from their own sites if I can manage to do so and keep away from right wing sites....lol). The thing is, I also feel like the Newdow supporters I am talking with online are actually rather intelligent. Some have brought up their own info and some is interesting. I still disagree, but I have enjoyed stumbling upon them because it is the only place where I have seen people actually defend the separationist position with any kind of logical support.

It is one of my pet issues, so I get a bit intense about it.

28 posted on 08/05/2002 7:51:58 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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To: TonyRo76
In all honesty, I bet Jefferson is probably up there somewhere thinking, "geez, when will these people get over that silly analogy I made to the Danbury Baptists? That was just a brief comment about denominational establishments, and those atheist zealots have totally twisted it and made it their cause celèbre..."

Amazing. Liberals I know insist the sole purpose of the First Ammendment is "separation of church and state". Yet those words came from a Jefferson letter, and was intended in a very narrow sense. And the reality is, those words were raised to "sacred" status by an anti-Catholic ex-KKK judge.

Those same liberals have never heard of The Federalist Papers, much less use them as a source of information on the intent of the Constitution. But they're perfectly happy parroting a kluxer for their First Ammendment views. They must think those words are written into the First Ammendment in invisible ink that only they can see.

29 posted on 08/05/2002 8:06:24 PM PDT by 300winmag
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To: rwfromkansas
Hello!

While I agree with your point of view on this issue (read my post 20 I think it is), I want to bring up something about this point:

"2) The First Amendment applies only to Congress. It has no authority over state governments, school boards, football game pre-game activities, or whether or not your Mama may wash your mouth out with soap for saying the "f"-word."

You are correct that the First Amendment was intended to apply to the federal govt. However, some would argue the 14th Amendment expaned this to the states. You need to be able to refute these people because they are the majority today. I know of one case that was decided after the 14th Amendment that didn't torture its intent (I have it in my post number 20). But, it is difficult to find enough stuff to overturn such people's arguments since everyone....even many conservatives, unfortunately agree that the 14th Amendment made the bill of rights apply to the states.

Even if the Fourteenth Amendment did apply the federal "Bill of Rights" to the States (which is debatable), does that necessarily mean it applies to the local high school principal who forbids the publication of a dirty picture in the school paper? I suppose it does if you believe in a "living Constitution" that (strangely) always seems to grow in ways you agree with as the liberals do. Equally strange is that it's apparently supposed to be growing teleologically, which doesn't make a lot of sense when you consider that most liberals believe the world is one gigantic meaningless coincidence. I guess the only way to convince themselves of their Fake Reasons For Living is to force them on everyone else.

I feel that, unless we repeal everything in the Constitution except the original seven articles and the Twelfth and Thirteenth amendments (and maybe the Twelfth wasn't such a good idea) that the best strategy at present is a single constitutional amendment clarifying the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment. Of course, liberals will scream that we're trying to bring back slavery, but I guess when you're trying to create social justice in a random, meaningless, self-existent universe that all is fair. Er . . . unless their precious randomness has warned liberals that it will punish them for failure or something.

Still, I think an attempt to do that would be better than the current strategy of trying to reverse each and every single bad court decision by passing a separate constitutional amendment. I love The American Legion, but I believe their "flag protection" amendment is wrong-headed; not because I believe flag burning is "constitutionally protected speech," but because it confirms the idea that the Constitution does indeed mean what any federal court says it means at any particular time, and it sets the precedent for an unlimited number of amendments to redress each and every outrage. Of course, if it weren't for the "Bill of Rights" the Constitution would be nothing but the rules of the federal government and there'd be no appeals to "constitutionally protected" anything.

I appreciate your comment about conservatives sometimes conceding the liberal position on the Fourteenth Amendment. There is also the problem of conservatives who want the First Amendment to apply only to Congress but want the Second and Fourth to apply to the states as well--an internal inconsistency which undermines our position.

30 posted on 08/05/2002 8:08:48 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator
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To: yall
The 'wall' idea has taken on a life of its own and is part of our custom and law," Mr. Wolfe said. "Americans love God and hate politics, so they ask, 'Why mix the two?'"


After over four years of observing some of our more zealous freepers, I can say:

"Some Americans love their version of Gods rules overmuch, -- and also love politics, -- so they ask, 'Why NOT mix the two?'"
31 posted on 08/05/2002 8:28:30 PM PDT by tpaine
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To: Zionist Conspirator
There is also the problem of conservatives who want the First Amendment to apply only to Congress but want the Second and Fourth to apply to the states as well--an internal inconsistency which undermines our position.


Do I understand that you agree with the state of california that they can violate the 2nd, and prohibit socalled assault weapons?

Who is the 'our' in your position?

32 posted on 08/05/2002 8:39:11 PM PDT by tpaine
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To: rwfromkansas
The thing is, I also feel like the Newdow supporters I am talking with online
are actually rather intelligent.


I don't find that too suprising. I heard Newdow being interviewed on The Michael
Medved Show. The brainpower of a guy who is an emergency room M.D. and
a lawyer from a ranked law school (Michigan?) was fully evident. (Medved was pretty much
his equal, if not better...but then I'm biased.)

Myself, I'm glad I live in a country that had the courage to experiment with the
radical concept of not tying the state to one established religion.
And although the blood pressure may rise a bit when hearing Newdow or the ACLU's
arguments, I'm glad we're dueling with words and not bullets like in other balkanized countries.

If you're interested, you can pick up The Michael Medved Show over the net from
the station he's on here in Los Angeles at www.newstalk870.com.
The show is on weekday Noon-3PM Pac Time (2-5 Central).
Since I moved here from Oklahoma, I must say that listening to the line-up of
Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt on that station has been just about
the equivalent of a bachelors in Philosophy, without the PC found on most campi today.
33 posted on 08/05/2002 8:54:10 PM PDT by VOA
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To: rwfromkansas
The case was not dealing with the establishment clause at the core; it was dealing with the free exercise clause and whether a Mormon could use religion to practice polygamy.

True. I posted it because the Reynolds opinion shows that even in 1878 they were using Jefferson's Danbury letter as a guide to interpreting the First Amendment. The author of the current article, Larry Witham, seems to think that it originated with Hugo Black 69 years later.

34 posted on 08/05/2002 10:18:27 PM PDT by Looking for Diogenes
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To: Looking for Diogenes
true. I believe Reynolds was the first time it was used.
35 posted on 08/05/2002 10:48:43 PM PDT by rwfromkansas
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway
There's something weird going on with this article. Hugo Black was less active in the Klan by 1940, and was put on the court by FDR because he believed in the New Deal and INCREASED FEDERAL POWERS, which btw, were the exact opposite of the KKK beliefs. Black was a consistent liberal vote.

The revisionism is starting to creep in on this, and I believe we're being set up for a "new" interpretation of the first amendment. The concept that Black's KKK background was responsible for this is ridiculous. However, the fact that the decision is no longer being credited to Jefferson, but to the KKK, means that the political elite no longer find it useful.

38 posted on 08/06/2002 6:52:59 AM PDT by Richard Kimball
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To: nickcarraway

I will never understand the BIG DEAL is over Jefferson's Danbury letter. It doesn't take a Einstein to figure out that it was only a limitation imposed upon Congress to have any established relations with religion. Why would the man who wrote and argued for the passage of the 14th amendment argue after its adoption that it is the duty of local government to promote the "teachings and blessings of god"????


39 posted on 12/21/2005 7:43:04 PM PST by AZRepublican
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To: nickcarraway
Jefferson was very big on personal faith but had disdain for much of the clergy from the various churches. He thought that the clergy was enriching itself off of the backs of their congregates. You can see, though, that nothing like that happens today ::cough:: ::throat clearing::
40 posted on 12/21/2005 8:26:38 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (The Far Right and the Far Left both disdain markets. If the Left ever finds God, the GOP is toast.)
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To: Richard Kimball
Speaking of revisionism: the word 'liberal' used to mean something to be proud of (pro freedom, limited government, anti-bureaucracy). I'm all for bringing it back, too.
41 posted on 12/21/2005 8:34:50 PM PST by LowCountryJoe (The Far Right and the Far Left both disdain markets. If the Left ever finds God, the GOP is toast.)
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To: nickcarraway

What part of "Congress shall pass no law" do they not understand?


42 posted on 12/21/2005 8:36:35 PM PST by Hoodat ( Silly Dems)
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To: Richard Kimball
Still, there is a connection. KKK- anti Catholic. Black- KKK. Black- anti-Catholic SCOTUS decision. BINGO!
43 posted on 12/21/2005 8:49:16 PM PST by celmak
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To: AZRepublican

The courts aren't interested in properly interpreting the Constitution. They decide what they want to rule, then work backwards to support their argument. The "separation" ruling is blatant, but Roe V. Wade was probably the worst Supreme Court decision ever rendered, from a legal standpoint. They couldn't even decide whether it rested with the 4th amendment "privacy" clause (which also doesn't exist) or the 14th amendment "equal protection" clause.


44 posted on 12/21/2005 8:56:33 PM PST by Richard Kimball (Tenure is the enemy of excellence.)
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