[F.U.C.K. is an e-zine that I started on January 24, 1993 and ended on January 24, 2000. One concept is that articles should be timeless if possible, so they were not released with dates. As such, the date on this blog is not exact but I will try to use a date as close as possible.]
If you have read past files of mine, you probably have a good idea of my religious beliefs (or lack there of). I don’t want to turn this file into any form of religious debate, but turn more to how the American government originally felt religion should be handled and how it has fallen short of its original planning.
For over two hundred years now, politicians have babbled about the concept of this separation. They follow the trend of the politicians before them in saying that the founding fathers created this separation and that it was a firm part of our system. By ranting on about there not being a national religion, they have fooled a large part of the mass into believing their lies. While the masses ate this up, they kept their own religious beliefs in the system.
The following two instances are the only places the Constitution mentions ‘religion’. As you can see, there was never a mention of the separation of church and state. The phrase we like to quote actually comes from the letter (partially quoted) after the segments from the Constitution.
Article VI Section (3)
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. [emphasis added] “
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Letter to the Danbury Baptists Thomas Jefferson, 1802 "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 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 to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties."
After consideration of the above, consider the following examples that show a clear lack of separation. Some of these may seem extremely trivial, but consider them in the bigger picture.
* For the past few years there has been a series of 'black' churches that have been burnt to the ground in the south. Since it is happening in the south, and is directed toward 'black' churches, it is pretty apparent that racism is a major factor here. After several pleas for help from black community leaders, the government has offered 10 million dollars to help rebuild the destroyed churches. * In Denver, Colorado, there is a street (University) that is typically a four lane road with heavy traffic during most of the day. On Sunday mornings the state allows parking in front of one of the churches (but not several others of different beliefs). This parking accommodates seven or eight cars to park there. During the course of Sunday morning mass, several hundred cars pass by forcing traffic to three lanes. Because of the unexpected parked cars, there are frequently 'close call collisions'. * In several military bases, there are offices and meeting places for chaplains and religious gatherings. In the last base I was at, there was a separate office for the chaplain and his assistant(s). Beyond that are full blown churches built with citizen tax dollars. * In almost every city or town you go through, you will find dozens of streets with religiously derived names. The last one I passed was "Baptist Street". * I know in recent years the court system has changed their procedures to satisfy everyone, but for hundreds of years you were forced to swear on a bible. Beyond that, you can still find various plaques and symbols in courts that contain religious references or symbols. * Despite past debate, there are still religious references on US Currency. Currency used by every American citizen, paid for by tax dollars. * Post offices around the country sell stamps with religious figures, references, or symbols. These are also funded by our tax dollars, and are continually given to anyone asking to purchase stamps, regardless of their religious beliefs. * New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani recently said "Mother Teresa does not get tickets." He agreed to grant Mother Teresa special dispensation after she requested ticket-free parking permits for her fellow nuns who have found ministering and parking in the city too difficult. * Recently, a lightning strike hit the steeple of a church here in Denver. Since then (over three weeks ago), they have had some portion of Colfax Avenue (the longest continous city street in America) closed. At the beginning, it was both lanes blocked off. Now, it is still west bound traffic. While the road is closed, it is impacting thousands of people a day, and hindering other businesses across the street.
Once again, it may sound somewhat mean spirited that I would complain about some of these things, especially the last, but as with many things, you must set a standard and live with it. This means taking the good with the bad. I find it more amazing that people I know would argue with me that there is currently a complete separation. Surely they have run into some of the above listed items. I think it is a matter of overlooking these events and dismissing them as part of daily life, while not considering part of the foundation of our government.
There is little that can be done to remedy the problem, and I am sure there are a lot of people that don’t even see this as a problem, but it does go against the Constitution. If nothing else, let this file serve as a reminder to everyone that many people out there find this sort of oversight an insult to the American Government. The Constitution says there is supposed to be a separation of church and state… but it appears this is another area society and its leaders have failed to keep the ‘faith’.
If I haven’t pursuaded you of this fact, then maybe some quotes from bigger names will help you.
Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention June 28, 1787: "I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of the truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without this concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Government by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move - that henceforth prayers imploring the audience of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service." Thomas Jefferson: "And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever." Alexis de Tocqueville: "Religion in America ... must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political instituions of that country ... I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion, for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This position is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation, and to every rank of society ... Christianity, therefore, reigns without any obstacle, by universal consent." US Supreme Court - Church of the Holy Trinity vs US 1892: "This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation ..... These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances, they speak the voice of the entire people .... These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." North Carolina Constitution 1876 "No person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust in the civil department within this State." John Jay - First Chief Justice US Supreme Court: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." George Washington - Inaugural Speech to Congress April 30, 1789: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency ... We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a Nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained." John Adams: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion ... Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Judge Joseph Story - 19th Century Supreme Court Justice: "The real object of the First Ammendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which would give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government." "We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment [in the First Ammendment] to an indifference to religion in general, and especially to Christianity, which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution .... Probably, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Ammendments to it ... the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State." House Judiciary Report in 1854: "Chistianity must be considered as the foundation upon which the whole structure rests. Laws will not have not permanence or power without the sanction of religious sentitment, without a firm belief that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues and punish our vices. In this age there will be no substitute for Christianity: that, in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions. That was the religion of the founders of the Republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants. There is a great and very prevalent error on this subject in the opinion that those who organized this Government did not legislate on religion." "The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ." Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason people of other faiths have been afforded asylums, prosperitity and freedom of worship here." Supreme Court of Pennsylvania - Updegraph vs The Commonwealth 1824: "No free government now exists in the world unless where Christianity is acknowledged and is the religion of the country ... Its foundations are broad and strong, and deep .... It is the purest system of morality, the firmest auxialry, and the only stable support of all human laws." "Christianity, general Christianity, is and always has been a part of the common law ... Thus this wise legislature framed this great body of laws, for a Christian country and Christian people ... No society can tolerate a willful and despiteful attempt to subvert its religion, no more than it would to break down it laws - a general, malicious and deliberate attempt to overthrow Christianity, general Christianity." Calvin Coolidge: "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if the faith in their teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country." Continental Congress - May 16, 1776: "The Congress ... desirous ... to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely ... on His aid and direction ... Do earnestly recommend ... a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and ammendment of life ... and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain His pardon and forgiveness." Noah Webster: "When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers' let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends upon the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted ... If a republican government fails ... it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws." Charles Finney - 19th Century Minister and Lawyer: "The Church must take right ground in regard to politics ... The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them ... God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take the right ground. Politics are a part of religion, in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God."
[Information for this file was collected over the past few years. I apologize if I have missed any credit that should have been given.]