War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. – John Stuart Mill –
The first line of the 1st Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
That there exists a “separation of church and state” clause anywhere within the articles or amendments of the Constitution is a myth, or more appropriately, a fraud.
In 1801, Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut were being persecuted because they were not part of the Congregationalist establishment. Concerned about their religious liberty, the Danbury Baptist Association penned a letter to President Thomas Jefferson. That letter read in part, “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…”
In his response, Jefferson wrote, “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.”
Without that “wall of separation,” the local government could have condemned the Baptists by making their religion and religious practices unlawful. Moreover, the government could have decreed that the Congregationalists practiced the only lawful religion and that all other religions would be banned. It could have placed severe penalties on those who practiced “unlawful” religions.
The establishment and exercise clause of the 1st Amendment was intended to protect citizens from government mandates that could ban, prohibit, or otherwise make illegal religion or religious practices. The founding fathers purposefully added the establishment and exercise clause to prevent religious persecution by the government and to create an atmosphere where all religions could flourish.
There are those, however, that would lead us to believe otherwise. The ACLU, with the help of liberal lawmakers and the media, has perpetrated a fraud on the public by implying that there is a “separation of church and state” clause where one does not exist.
A constitutionally ignorant and historically challenged society provides the perfect breeding ground for liberal organizations, liberal judges, and the liberal media to perpetrate such frauds.
Some schools hold environmental rallies on public property where children are forced to recite leftist mantras. In some schools, students are required to attend pro-abortion rallies sponsored by the National Organization of Women. These school-sponsored activities are considered constitutional. But offering a school-sponsored prayer at a commencement exercise or a sporting event…unconstitutional. A moment of silence for a student to give thanks to God and pray that there might be less pain and suffering in the world…unconstitutional. Reading the Bible in school, perhaps a story about God’s love and his message of hope for all of mankind…unconstitutional.
The truth is the 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. In accordance with the words of Thomas Jefferson, it is our social duty to defy unconstitutional mandates and our natural right to Praise God when and wherever the Spirit so moves us…especially on public property.
They tell us, Sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.
Three millions of People, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Beside, Sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of Nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, Sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat, Sir, let it come
It is in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace! — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that Gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery! Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 1775