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Title: When did the U.S. government pass a law dictating the Separation of Church and State? Where can this law be found?
When did the U.S. government pass a law dictating the Separation of Church and State? Where can this law be found? Over the years, however, the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have reinterpreted this amendment in many ways. This reinterpretation of the Constitution has in effect become the law supposedly dictating the "separation of church and state." Let's look first at a very brief history of the Courts reasoning and rationale for reinterpretation, and then we'll discuss what the phrase "separation of church and state" means as it is applied in American public policy. One of the Supreme Court's most blatant violations of the Constitution came about through their reinterpretation of the Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments. Prior to this constitutional violation, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government. Notice the actual language of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law
" As one of many efforts to limit the power of the federal government, the Constitution left authority over religious matters to the States. The Supreme Court consistently adhered to this constitutional principle until well into the twentieth century. But in the 1925 ruling, Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court began ignoring its predecessors and precedents. The Court reasoned that one of the purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment was to extend the Bill of Rights to the States. (This would obviously expand the powers of the federal courts to a great degree.) The history of the Fourteenth Amendment does not support their contention, nor do the earlier Courts. Nonetheless, the 1925 Court ignored the historical record and the opinions of their predecessors, establishing a new precedent. Gitlow dealt with freedom of speech and the press; religious matters would soon follow. In the context of religion, the Court's first and most abusive reinterpretation began in a 1940 Supreme Court ruling, Cantwell v. Connecticut. Here, the Court applied the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment to the states. Again, religion was a State matter. State courts were, and are, completely capable of handling the issue. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court, in direct opposition to the original intentions of the Constitution, applied yet another portion of the Bill of Rights to the States. They did not stop there. The next landmark ruling came down in 1947. In the case, Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court applied the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment to the states. In the context of the "separation of church and state," the Court's foundational reinterpretation of the Constitution was complete. From 1947 forward, the Court has ruled with regularity on religious issues, in direct violation of the original meaning of the First Amendment. Their rulings, and those of lower courts (federal and State) have become the law of "separation of church and state." That was a very brief description of how the federal courts have taken authority over religious issues, reinterpreting the First Amendment and applying it to the States by way of the Fourteenth Amendment. All of this was done in clear violation of the actual wording of the Constitution, as well as the intentions of its framers. The modern concept of "separation of church and state" can not be justified using the historical record. During the last generation, the courts, at all levels, have ruled in ways that essentially guarantee the freedom from religion, instead of the freedom of religion. "Separation of church and state," as applied to education, means that a prayer at a graduation ceremony is unconstitutional. It also means that students may not pause for a moment of silence at the beginning of their school day. It means that a nativity scene may not be displayed on public property unless there are other displays (e.g. Santa Clause or Christmas trees) that secularize the presentation. Today's conception of "separation of church and state" has also been used to remove historic crosses from public property, and religious symbols from city seals. It has been used to remove the Ten Commandments from courtrooms, even though they are carved in stone within the architecture of the Supreme Court building. The concept has been used to prevent religious expressions on personalized license plates. And these are but a few of the official applications of the concept, or law of "separation of church and state." One should understand that "separation of church and state" is not actually a law. It is a doctrine, or a legal concept, that has been implemented by the various courts primarily over the last fifty years. If this concept, as originally understood, would have been applied with consistency over the years, America would certainly be a different country right now. Religious expression would flourish, and the courts would not be micromanaging the religious life of the American people. The doctrine of "separation of church and state" has been used, and is being used, to effectively purge religion from the public square. The historical perspective on church/state issues reveals a much different story. The government was to accommodate the religious communities; religion and religious expression were to be encouraged. This is why, for example, the first Congress asked President George Washington to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation upon completion of the Bill of Rights. Today, that practice would be viewed as unconstitutional. It would violate the "separation of church and state."
Poster Comment: WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:" NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us. And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft. GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine. (signed) G. Washington Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789
(signed) G. Washington Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789(1 image)
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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 9.
#7. To: Murron (#0)
Most all churches are 501(c)3 corporations. Which means they are a CREATION of the state. Because of this status, the IRS can, and does, dictate what can be preached from the pulpits...
Ever notice any Anti War Sermons? again...wails of laughter ensue....;}
#13. To: mcgowanjm (#9)
Ever notice any Anti War Sermons?
again...wails of laughter ensue....;}
#13. To: mcgowanjm (#9)