Separation of Church and State – Answering Critics

BobRyan

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The First Amendment prohibits the Federal government from establishing a national religion.

The Tenth Amendment -- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" -- patently permits the individual states to establish a state religion, as many states did initially.

Through somewhat tortured logic, the Fourteenth Amendment has by some been interpreted to prevent state established religions.

Section 1.​

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

So then the right to worship God according to the dictates of the person's conscience -- appears to be "a liberty" that each person enjoys under the constitution.

However, the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returned to the individual states the power to regulate abortions.
Indeed. And states may enforce speed limits, and has the right to revoke driver's licenses etc.
The founders envisioned IMO a very small footprint for the Federal government's involvement in the daily life of the country's citizenry.
agreed.
Unfortunately, today that is not the case. A continued effort to return to the states the power to govern will allow Christian values to inform legislators (short of establishing a state religion), eg., Louisiana's Ten Commandment Bill.
United States of America rather than just "America".
A republic of federated states.

Seems to be the original intent.

=================

from: The History of the Separation of Church and State in the US

"Many of the Founding Fathers personally chafed at the way the Anglican church — not their church — was entangled in the governmental affairs of Britain and wanted to be sure to be able to worship in their own way. And on a very practical level, they saw how diverse their new country already was, and by guaranteeing everyone the right to worship in his or her own way they could avoid the religious conflict that had raged across Europe. Those views became central to the country’s self image."​

It is one thing to argue for restricting state or federal government from forcing everyone to be Anglican, or forcing everyone to pay taxes to the Anglican church. It is another thing to say that Church institutions cannot be tax exempt or that Christianity cannot be promoted in government Holidays , "God bless America", "on nation under God", "In God we trust" - "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.."
 
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The Barbarian

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Is loyalty to the US government loyalty to God?
Romans 13:1
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
 
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o_mlly

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Section 1.​

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

So then the right to worship God according to the dictates of the person's conscience -- appears to be "a liberty" that each person enjoys under the constitution.
Yes, freedom of religion is a logical interpretation of the 22nd Amendment's text, not freedom from religion. Do you see anything in the text that could be construed to prohibit Louisiana's "Ten Commandments Law"? Atheists will likely argue that the law violates their "privilege" to be free from religion.
 
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BobRyan

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Yes, freedom of religion is a logical interpretation of the 22nd Amendment's text, not freedom from religion.
Agreed. There are a lot of appeals to our Creator God in the founding documents of this nation.
Do you see anything in the text that could be construed to prohibit Louisiana's "Ten Commandments Law"?
No. They are promoting the Ten by saying that historically the Ten Commandments play a role in the founding of this nation, which I think is a valid observation.
Atheists will likely argue that the law violates their "privilege" to be free from religion.
True. But that would mean they view America as "an atheist nation - free FROM Christianity and all other religion".

Which I view as a bit of a bend-and-wrench of our founding documents and founders themselves.
 
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Dale

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The First Amendment prohibits the Federal government from establishing a national religion.

The Tenth Amendment -- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" -- patently permits the individual states to establish a state religion, as many states did initially.

Through somewhat tortured logic, the Fourteenth Amendment has by some been interpreted to prevent state established religions. However, the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returned to the individual states the power to regulate abortions.

The founders envisioned IMO a very small footprint for the Federal government's involvement in the daily life of the country's citizenry. Unfortunately, today that is not the case. A continued effort to return to the states the power to govern will allow Christian values to inform legislators (short of establishing a state religion), eg., Louisiana's Ten Commandment Bill.

Hello, o_milley, since I don’t think I have met you on CF before. Thanks for your interest in this topic.



o_milley: << The Tenth Amendment -- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" -- patently permits the individual states to establish a state religion, as many states did initially. >>

Powers not delegated to the Federal government are reserved to the states or the people. What you are overlooking is that the religion clause of the First Amendment leaves the right to choose a religion with every citizen, every person. That’s “reserved … to the people.” As I explained in the OP, James Madison secured the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Madison also wrote the First Amendment. To know what he meant in the religion clause we only need to read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. The Statute specifically says that no one should be forced to give financial support to a church they don’t believe in. In that light, the state churches in the early years of the Republic were unconstitutional.

While the Federal government was originally intended to have a “small footprint” as you put it, the understanding of Americans has evolved. As Rick Burns told us in his famous video series on the Civil War, before the Civil War, the United States was plural, but after the Civil War, the United States became singular.
 
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Dale

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The First Amendment prohibits the Federal government from establishing a national religion.

The Tenth Amendment -- "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people" -- patently permits the individual states to establish a state religion, as many states did initially.

Through somewhat tortured logic, the Fourteenth Amendment has by some been interpreted to prevent state established religions. However, the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returned to the individual states the power to regulate abortions.

The founders envisioned IMO a very small footprint for the Federal government's involvement in the daily life of the country's citizenry. Unfortunately, today that is not the case. A continued effort to return to the states the power to govern will allow Christian values to inform legislators (short of establishing a state religion), eg., Louisiana's Ten Commandment Bill.

O_milley, you mention Louisiana’s Ten Commandments law. I notice that Governor Landry misunderstands the place of the Ten Commandments in history.

<< “Look, when the Supreme Court meets, the doors of the Supreme Court on the backside have the Ten Commandments. Moses faces the U.S. Speaker of the House in the House chamber. He is the original giver of law,” Landry said. >>

Historically, Moses is not the original giver of law. The Babylonian King Hammurabi issued the Code of Hammurabi hundreds of years before the Ten Commandments. Respectable scholars believe that the Code of Hammurabi is a thousand years older than the Ten Commandments. I don’t like to see our schools and our laws upended by someone who can’t get the simplest fact right.

Links
Governor Landry
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/4734128-louisiana-ten-commandments-law-jeff-landry-defends/
Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi: Laws & Facts | HISTORY

 
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o_mlly

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Hello, o_milley, since I don’t think I have met you on CF before. Thanks for your interest in this topic.
Thank you.
What you are overlooking is that the religion clause of the First Amendment leaves the right to choose a religion with every citizen, every person.
? I didn't overlook that freedom of religion is an explicit right in the amendment.
As I explained in the OP, James Madison secured the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and Madison also wrote the First Amendment. To know what he meant in the religion clause we only need to read the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.
Jefferson initiated the draft of the statute. More importantly, The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom consisted of 733 words and, in the tension between federalists and anti-federalists at the convention, the First Amendment was distilled to be only 45 words. Madison as writer but not author of a compromised First Amendment must be acknowledged.
The Statute specifically says that no one should be forced to give financial support to a church they don’t believe in. In that light, the state churches in the early years of the Republic were unconstitutional.
The First Amendment does not deny the states to establish a religion and, therefore, such legislation was constitutional.
While the Federal government was originally intended to have a “small footprint” as you put it, the understanding of Americans has evolved. As Rick Burns told us in his famous video series on the Civil War, before the Civil War, the United States was plural, but after the Civil War, the United States became singular.
With all due respect to Burns' opinion on post-Civil War politics, the USA was not singular after the war. Reconstruction was one of the most turbulent and controversial eras in American history.
 
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o_mlly

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Historically, Moses is not the original giver of law. The Babylonian King Hammurabi issued the Code of Hammurabi hundreds of years before the Ten Commandments. Respectable scholars believe that the Code of Hammurabi is a thousand years older than the Ten Commandments. I don’t like to see our schools and our laws upended by someone who can’t get the simplest fact right.
In context, Moses delivered the Ten Commandments as authored by God. I don't think Hammurabi's code had the same author.
 
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