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This page has some tools I'll use to write a more cogent explanation of why Separation of Church and State is a valid and necessary concept in government. The following outline shows what I've current included in the page.

Post 1
Op-Ed 1
Op-Ed 2

Outline for information:

The Constitution, The First Amendment

The Federalist Papers, and opinions of the Founders

Case Law, including Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) and Reynolds v. US (1878)

Traditions of the US, including "In God We Trust" on coins (1864), as a motto (1956), "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegience (1954), Chaplains in the military and Congress, prayer in schools and other public events, public displays of religious items . . .

Opinions of other great Americans and Philosophers, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Robert Ingersoll

Links. My Philo page has most of the links I use. These are more specific.

A good site for quotes from the founders can be found at:


This is a shorter version of what I'd like to have here. Even though it's short, it hits most of the major points.



The following is a reply I wrote in response to someone's claim that I had been taken in by the 'big lie' of Separation of Church and State.

Let's work out this 'big lie.' One must be lied to, but I, for myself, have seen the facts clearly, and in various forms. I ask you where you got your facts.

I'm going to just assume you meant to quote the 1st Amendment and not the 2nd. The 1st Amendment does talk about the government making no law about religion or restricting its free exercise. The phrase 'Separation of Church and State' refers directly to that part of the 1st Amendment. The phrase arose from the words of our founders. Since then, it has been established and upheld as a necessary part of our system of government. It is only an argument of semantics to say that the exact words are not in the Constitution. The idea is clearly there.
You next note how the pilgrims to this nation came to escape religious tyrrany. That's true. It's also true that they immediately set up religious tyrranies of their own. The combination of both those events, and basic reason, led the Founders to insist that religion remain separate from government.
To say that religion meant only Christianity ignores the beliefs of the Founders. You quote Jefferson specifically as supporting your kind of freedom of religion. Here are a few quotes of my own from Jefferson:
He coined the term Separation of Church and State:
"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 prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
--Letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
He clarifies the place of Christianity:
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law"
--Letter to Thomas Cooper (Feb. 10, 1814)
He clarifies his personal opinion on Christianity:
"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
--The Jefferson Bible
He clarifies his position on religions in general:
"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
--Letter to Horatio Spafford (Mar. 17, 1814)
He pens a version of religious freedom more specific about who must go to worship:
"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship place or ministry whatsoever or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise... affect their civil capacities."
--Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779)

and one last note for amvets, the Pledge. It didn't have the phrase "Under God" until 1954. This is a relatively recent, and unfortunate, violation of Separation of Church and State.

I challenge you to find the facts for yourself. The truth is there, you need only look past the propoganda spread by those who need the government to help legitimize their mythology.



The following is a Letter to the Editor I wrote in response to an Op-Ed condemning the Supreme Court decision against prayer at football games (Santa Fe Independent Schools '99).  

RE: "Prayer ruling was flat wrong" by Charley Reese, presented June 28th, 2000, page 8A

To the Editor:

I am writing in reference to the article, "Prayer ruling was flat wrong," run in the AM, June, 28th. The article covered every misconception and distortion that Christian fundamentalists have spread about the history and law of our nation, and the issue of prayer in schools. The article even begins with the time-honored shock tactic of associating atheism and communism, which are, in fact, mutually exclusive. Presenting Mikhail Gorbachev’s espoused suppression of religion seems absurd if one merely turns a few pages of the same paper. Page B4 has the headline "Gorbachev still popular at the Vatican." Extracting truth from hype in the rest of the article is scarcely more difficult.

Just as Gorbachev is inimical to our national identity, the Authors of the Constitution personify it. The article gives the example of George Washington, our first great military leader. However, he did not write the Constitution. Those who did, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Franklin, among others, are the ones who formed our Separation of Church and State. It is through the example of these men, the leaders of the intellectual revolution, not of the military revolution, that the Court rightfully interprets the Constitution.

Far from being "flat wrong," the ruling was true to the historical nature of religion in government and is by no means a "contradiction of 200 years of American history." Anyone who places our nations anxiety about government-sponsored religion prior to the landing of the first religious refugees in Plymouth are pushing an agenda other than the truth. Oft-cited examples of references to God in our Pledge of Allegiance and national motto did not appear until 1954 and 1956, respectively. And far from supporting the further unconstitutional establishment of religion, they are no more than mistakes yet to be corrected.

The article’s greatest misrepresentation is of the nature of our 1st Amendment religious protections. The article asks when a local school district is the Federal Government. I would redirect that question to those who fought to desegregate schools who argued that the civil rights spoken of in the Constitution also applied to schoolchildren. The article asks when a privately-spoken prayer constitutes an establishment of religion public schools. The Court lucidly addressed this question in its opinion,

"The delivery of a message such as the invocation here--on school property, at school-sponsored events, over the school's public address system, by a speaker representing the student body, under the supervision of school faculty, and pursuant to a school policy that explicitly and implicitly encourages public prayer--is not properly characterized as "private" speech."

The Court does not deserve the derisive label of unscholarly political appointees that the article lays upon them, a label that I’m sure will be withheld in the event that the Court passes a ruling favorable to the AM. Rather than question their decision, we should applaud them for making a fully researched and well-considered decision despite the fact that it was, in fact, widely unpopular. It is another needed brick in the wall of Separation and a tribute to the Checks and Balances of our system of government.

The following is a letter to the editor in response to an article by a Baptist Minister who writes for the paper.  It was printed in the Marietta Times Wednesday, July 26, 2000.  If it's still posted, the article may be found on the Times website at this address:  Christians can't withdraw into a protective shell

The July 15-16 edition of The Times, page D2, included an article touting the value of prayer and Christian fellowship. The article asserted Christians and prospective Christians must pray and keep the company of Christians in order to solve their problems. This kind of easy answer to our problems has all the hidden dangers of get-rich-quick schemes and diet plans. The mix of prayer and Christian fellowship as this article explains it is a recipe for a backward and divided society.

The first theme of the article, prayer, is summed up in the quote, "Nothing can help more in overcoming life's problems than spending hours and hours meditating upon the word of God." If I were a single parent with no education, no job, and a child to feed, extended study of the Bible would only get me evicted, found unfit to parent, and left with nothing by the church. Countless Christian testimony will say otherwise, but I refer the reader to get-rich-schemes and miracle diet plans that preach the same formula for easy success, and seem to have unlimited supporters, yet bear no fruits. Countless testimonials don't validate the flawed premises upon which the schemes, Christian or commercial are based. In this case, the flawed lesson of the article is "prayer is a substitute for hard work and facing life's problems." That is antithetical to the way of the world and a responsible person, by definition, will agree.

The more frightening undertone of the article is one of segregation and social supremacy. As the article explains the benefits of the "body of Christ," it draws a line separating Christians from non-Christians. A Christian will assert that it is not hatred or conceit that is their reason for being with Christians.

To a Jew, Muslim, or non-believer who is denied a job, a spot on the PTA board, or on the tenant's committee, the answer sounds reminiscent of the worst kind of racial profiling in our nation's past.

The Mid-Ohio Valley is not socially diverse by any definition, but as we become a larger and more worldly community, we, Christians and others, must learn to understand, accept, and value persons of all beliefs and not withdraw into a protective shell of Christian bigotry and hatred.

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