Although this does not specifically address the issue of Separation of Church and State directly, I do believe it is very much a part of the discussion.
The First Amendment, specifically the “Establishment” and the “Free Exercise” clauses are at the very center of the debate, thus we cannot talk about it without understanding the history behind this important amendment.
Attached to this article is a copy of the research paper I submitted for my US Government class in which I touched briefly on the subject. To be honest, I wanted to go very much deeper into the subject, but I was limited by the requirements of the project. I am contemplating a larger work in which I will fully expose much of what I have learned and have yet to learn.
I think many people I speak with assume that because I come from a Christian worldview, that my opinion is biased or skewed in some way towards favoring the right-wing political agenda. Let me be clear that while I unreservedly hold a Christian worldview, it is that very point that helps me better understand this issue.
ALL of the founding fathers had a Christian worldview, but they were not religious activists. As you will see in my paper, these men wanted to be free to worship God as they understood Him to be, not as the government understood him to be. That is the underlying fundamental equation in the debate.
Was this nation founded as a Christian Nation? Not in the way we would understand that today. This nation was founded by Christians, yes, without a doubt! Did they utilize biblical ideas and morals in the forming of this nation? If you doubt that, I must assume you have read only second-hand resources that quote information out of context. I suggest that the only way to understand the real history of these ideas and philiosophies is to read entire primary sources, letters and texts and follow their responses and rebuttals.
Below is my paper titled “A Nation Must Stand Divided”
Other entries related to this topic:
Recently I began reading about the topic of Separation of Church and State for a US Government research paper. I have come to no firm conclusions as of yet as I am still in the middle of my study on this most interesting topic.
There are probably few people out there that are actually not interested in this subject in some way or another and for good reason. This essential tenet to the United States Constitution is shrouded in controversy almost as old as the country itself.
In fact, I came across this very subject years ago while researching different aspects of spirituality and faith before, during and after the US Civil War. It is most interesting to me that the first political figure to seriously contend for a more liberal religious tolerance was none other than Geroge Washington. General Washington, at the time, strongly pressed for the incorporation of Christian Chaplains into his Continental Army. While this practice was soon adopted and little challenged at first, it became a hot-button item for debate upon ratification of the United States Constitution and the subsequent Bill of Rights.
I also encountered the topic while researching different Christian seminaries being established in Illinois. There were several Constitutional challenges to initial charters based on this establishement and free excercise of religion in the newly formed country.
The Constitution was ratified and adopted on September 17, 1787 and the original 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on December 15, 1791. By 1830 however, the First amendment religious rights began to experience their first legal challenges in the United States Supreme Court.
I won’t go into detail here and now, as that is the central point of my research paper, but over time I will discuss several areas of the challenges, victories and defeat of the rights proclaimed in the First Ammendment to the United States Constitution.