Thomas Jefferson’s “Wall Of Separation”

What it really means from We The People-Ohio Valley.

Those seeking to remove all vestiges of religion from our schools and public squares often use the famous phrase “wall of separation” to justify their position.  Its root are in Thomas Jefferson’s reply to the Danbury Baptist Association.  And it is apparent that his metaphor has been misapplied —even by the Supreme Court.

The Baptists had written to the President seeking assurances that government would not interfere with their religious practices.  Baptists were a minority denomination in Connecticut, and expressed fear that, as they viewed it, any religious rights they may have had were being granted as a favor from the government, rather than as an inalienable right, and could therefore be taken away:

And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, (so) that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and as inalienable rights.  And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of free men.

Jefferson”s reply in 1802 read in part:

Believing with you that…the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declare 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 & State.

The context of the letter from the Baptists makes it clear that Jefferson’s “wall of separation” had to do with the government meddling in the affairs of churches, and nothing to do with keeping church activities away from government building.  Jefferson’s other writings and actions support this interpretation:

He wrote approvingly of the practice by four denominations in Charlottesville, VA near his home in which they held services in the court house.

Two days after he replied to the Baptists, Jefferson himself attended religious services in the US capital.

In authoring the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which prescribed a model for the development of the territories in the Great Lakes region (Ohio), Jefferson wrote that schools should teach religion and morality in addition to imparting general knowledge to pupils!

How ironic that today the wall of separation, as it was originally intended, has come tumbling down as our government brazenly intrudes in religious affairs.

The protection of our religious freedom is contained in the very first line of the Bill of Rights.  It was placed first for a resin: Our Founders considered it of paramount importance.

Furthermore, without the protections contained in the Bill of Rights the states NEVER would have ratified the U.S. Constitution at all.  The Bill of Rights was put forth to guarantee that there would be limits to the power wielded by our Federal Government.  Yet, over the years, We The People have allowed the government slowly but surely to encroach upon these most basic rights until today we see a government fiat that attempts to force people of faith to violate their most deeply held beliefs.  This must not stand!

Today we are ALL Catholics.  We MUST speak with one voice regardless of our religious affiliation and oppose the Federal Government’s latest assault on our Constitution.  For as Pastor Martin Niemoller famously said during the rise of the Third Reich in Nazi Germany:

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”  From the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Read, study, learn, realize what is REALLY going on.  And VOTE THEM ALL OUT.


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