Separation of Church and State: Myths and Facts

The Founders Tried to Protect Us From Religious Extremists

America’s founders deliberately kept god out of our Constitution because they didn’t want a theocracy. But many Americans now try to force all of us to practice their faith, and prevent some from practicing different faiths. Nothing is more un-American.

James Madison and Gouverneur Morris wrote our Constitution from scratch in 1787, using pen and paper. There had never before been such a document. They could have put anything they wanted into it. They chose not to use the words “god”, “Christ”, “Christian”, or “Jesus” anywhere in it. They chose not to require an official religion. In fact, they forbid the government to require a religious test of any person who holds public office.

In 1789, they proposed the Bill of Rights. The first amendment forbids government to establish a religion. Now, if they had wanted a Christian nation, surely they would have required it, and required religious tests for public servants. If they had wanted a theocracy, surely they would have said so.

Since so many of our schools don’t bother to teach the Constitution, here is the text of the First Amendment:

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, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Strident, tyrannical “christians” like to proclaim that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution. They’re right; it doesn’t. They claim that as “proof” that the separation doesn’t exist. They’re wrong. The phrases “three equal branches of government”, “innocent until proven guilty”, and “majority rule” aren’t there either, but the concepts do exist in our government.

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Henry Brown

Excellent post (Yahoo voices is even better)… The only thing that I would question in the entire 1180 word article is “Since so many of our schools don’t bother to teach the Constitution” Would like to see the numbers that you base the statement on. I have participated in several curriculum design sessions, as an interested citizen, and most of the high school level courses regarding government spend “some” time on teaching the Constitution.