What Went Wrong: an Examination of Separation of Church and State

Topics: United States, Separation of church and state, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 5 (1813 words) Published: October 8, 1999
What Went Wrong: An Examination of Separation of Church and State

By the middle of the 20th Century, the United States had emerged as a world power. It accomplished this through its leadership in defeating Germany and Japan in World War II. These two countries' main objective was to enslave the world and destroy political, religious, and economic freedom. In Germany or Japan, anyone who disagreed with these goals, or was different was destroyed. This was a common practice in these two fascist countries. Unfortunately, at the same time of its emergence as a world power, the United States began to slip into a form of judicial fascism. This slide began when the U.S. Supreme Court began to abandon the religious principles on which this nation was founded.

The abandonment officially began in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education, when the court announced, "The 1st amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." (Barton, Original… p.13) This exact case began the reversal of Supreme Court trends and opinions that had lasted for one hundred and fifty years. Now, for almost fifty years, the Supreme Court , and the United States population in general, has used the phrase "separation of church and state" when referring to the religion clause of the 1st Amendment.

The 1st amendment's actual wording is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." (Barton, America: To… p.15) But, because of the Supreme Court's continuous citing of a " wall of separation" and "separation of church and state", the public's idea of the 1st amendment's religion clause has been shaped by phrases which do not appear anywhere in the Constitution. The First Congress, which passed this Amendment in 1789, intended to prohibit the establishment of a national religion. In fact, they didn't mind the establishment of "official" religions by states. At the start of the American Revolution, nine of the thirteen colonies had established religions, so obviously no one was opposed to the coupling of church and state.

Unfortunately, this separation talk has been so furiously pounded into our heads, that a picture is painted falsely into our heads; a picture of a roomful of godless atheists, agnostics, and deists framing our Constitution in 1789. This picture is gruesomely distorted. Most of the Founders belonged to orthodox Christian religions, and some were even evangelical Christian ministers. (Barton, America's p.3)

The Supreme Court says that these men's intent was to keep religion and politics separate. John Quincy Adams, in a speech on July 4,1837 asked the crowd, "Why is it, that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and venerated festival returns on this day?" He goes on to explain the important ties between the birthday of the nation and the birthday of Jesus Christ. He says that the Declaration of Independence was first organized on the foundation of Jesus' mission on Earth, and that the Declaration "laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity. Adams stressed that the major impact of the Revolution was that Christian principles and civil government were connected in an "indissoluble" bond. (Barton, America's p.17) Why is the Supreme Court blind to such evidence as this? John Quincy Adams was an extremely well educated man, so he is a very reliable source. Other Founding Fathers were very outspoken about Christian beliefs. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and one of the men most responsible for the Constitution declared, "Providence(heaven) has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christian rulers." (Barton, America's p.8) Doesn't this tell our Supreme Court anything?...
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