Modern Myths

Dispelling the Modern Myth of the Separation of Church and State

Many moons ago, in a post on George W. Bush, a friend left a comment which included this statement, “What in the world ever happened to the division of church and state? remember that little detail of the amendments??”

I had been meaning to address this topic (if only in answer to one of the questions posed by a friend in my George W. Bush Under Examination series), and never got around to it. Many Americans have wrong understanding of this concept — this week I discovered that even Larry King is confused. (Thanks for the heads-up on this, Spunky.)

Not driven toward researching and rewriting on the topic of Separation between Church and State, and not exactly sure of the truth myself, I thought I’d simply post a few links on the subject for you to peruse:

The About page on the Church and State blog has a nice summary of the history of the “separation of church and state phrase)

Presidential Prayer Team Newsletter for Kids has an oversimplified, short and sweet summary of the history of this concept

Farce or Tragedy? (The discussions from folks on both sides of the fence in the comments section are very thought-provoking)

Newsweek: Separated? (HT: Nathan Bradfield)

So…what do YOU think?

UPDATED:   I really like this article’s explanation of the history of the separation between church and state.  I’m convinced!  Why don’t we hear these things in school?????


6 thoughts on “Modern Myths

  1. The site has it right. The authors of the constitution wanted to prevent the church controlling the government, but they were also concerned about the government trying to control the church. By allowing the government to PREVENT expressions of religions it sets itself up as having a single national denomination of atheisim.

    The founding fathers were men who worshiped a higher being and wanted to keep that freedom. The government is trying to take that away – just like the government in England prevented the worshiping of God in individual ways.

    The understood the God that was being worship was Christian.

    Interesting blog.

  2. Even though the comment in a letter is thought to be the only reference to separation of church and state – this is often quoted.

    The Virgina state ratification of the constitution states;
    20th. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular sect or society ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.

    The error in considering this quotes;
    1. It is often thought of as being part of the US Constitution and not just part of the Virginia Ratification. Each state had the ability to make ratifications that trumps the US constitution, but I don’t think that California has one.

    2. It does not deny the right to religion as is touted as the meaning – it states that the state cannot force an individual to believe (or by extension not believe), but one can be directed by reason and conviction to express their religion according to the dictates of conscience.

  3. //So…what do YOU think?//

    Have prayer in schools.

    Keep “under God” in the Pledge

    Have a Baby Jesus creche in the town square

    Post the Ten Commandments at the Court House

    Throw out lawsuits that argue “Merry Christmas” constitutes harrasment

    Anyone have others?

  4. I’m not sure I’m for prayer in schools. I’d be terrified by some of the teachers and school leaders praying with or over MY CHILD. Now allowing children to read the Bible or have a moment of silence would be good.

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