Saturday, December 11, 2010
"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."
Some Religious activists try to extricate the concept of separation between church and State by claiming that those words do not occur in the Constitution. Indeed they do not, but neither does it exactly say "freedom of religion," yet the First Amendment implies both.}
Anonymous posted this statement to contradict the statements I made in posting http://spiritualheritage.blogspot.com/2010/10/general-principles.html
First, you can go to that link and see, that post in no way contradicts Mr. Jefferson, or the Constitution. The point being in General Principles, our government and institutions were founded on the general principles of Christianity as stated by Mr. Adams.
I presume that Anonymous is attempting to say that by acknowledging that fact we are somehow crossing the wall of separation of church and state, somehow establishing a religion. This is absorb thinking. The 1st Amendment is clear as well as Mr. Jefferson's Letter. In the 1st Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, . . ." which means, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.
It does not say, "Congress shall make no reference to the faith of our Founders, the influence of that faith, or infer in any way that our laws are based upon the general principles of Christianity.
As to Mr. Jefferson's letter, he was reassuring the Danbury Baptist that government was not going to show favoritism to any particular denomination and by force apply punishment to any other by legislation of law. "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, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor." - - - - Letter of Oct. 7, 1801 from Danbury (CT) Baptist Assoc. to Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Manuscript Division.
Mr. Jefferson in the letter refered to by Anonymous closes by saying, "I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem."
To reciprocate means, RECIP'ROCATE, v.t. To exchange; to interchange; to give and return mutually; as, to reciprocate favors.
President George Washington, who presided as President over the Constitutional Convention made this proclomation: "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 favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving 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 establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now, anonymous said at the beginning, "Some Religious activists try to extricate the concept of separation between church and State by claiming that those words do not occur in the Constitution."
If anonymous takes issues with my posting in "General Principles" must not (he/she) also take issue with President Washington's acknowledgement of God, and His recommendation that the people of the United States set a day aside for public (not privete) thanksgiving and prayer?
Congress did not make that a law, but the President and Congress did recommend it, and that recommendation was completely in line with the Constutition and Jefferson's interpretation of the 1st Amendment which he refered to as the wall of seperation of church and state.
It seems (his/her) understanding of seperation of church and state was not the understanding of church and state, that President Jefferson & President Washington had. Again, when I have to choose between what someone says President Jefferson believed or President Washington believed, or any Founder believed; if it disagrees with what they have said, I'm going to go with what they said everytime.
May God bless each of you,