"Don't even attempt with citing the modern court. Read some older documentation(s) or
references during the times of the founders. Look at the founders diversity as related to
religion and law." - onebuck
I have to admit that "that" is exactly what I have been doing the last three or four days. I
hate to admit that I waited till now to do it.
"You still haven't shown me where in the Constitution the statement of 'Separation of Church
from State'." - onebuck
That's because he or no one else can!
"I asked a simple question; How does one not respect an establishment of religion, nor
prevent the free exercise of religion, without a separation of church and state?" - moxieman99
A simple question with the "answer" still in flux.
From what I can read we would be better served if instead of "separation of church and
state" we instead thought "separation of church and 'General Government'" taking those two
words from Jefferson's own mouth:
"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from
intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This
results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment
or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not
delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or
to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It
must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority." --Thomas
Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808. ME 11:428
"It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority", excerpt mine, and as near as I can tell that was the situation as it existed at the time
of the writing of the Constitution:
"Nine out of the original thirteen colonies had established state religions. The
predominant religious groups back then were Puritans, Anglicans, Calvinists, Presbyterians,
Congregationalists, and Baptists. The predominant minority groups were Jews, Quakers, and
Catholics, although a few Amish and Mennonites existed in Pennsylvania, and Methodist and
Baptist sects didn't really proliferate until the Second Great Aw akening. Prior to the
Constitution, only two states - Maryland and Rhode Island - allowed religious freedom. The
remaining eleven states had various laws restricting the practice of minority religions, and
almost all states, even the most tolerant, required holders of public office to profess
faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ His Only Son. Eventually, most of the states
abolished these oppressive laws. Those that did not, or were slow to do so, and banned
creationism in the classroom became part of what was to be called the Bible Belt."
I should add that I don't know what this persons definition of oppressive is and I am proud
to have grown up in the so called "Bible Belt".
I also found indications that as many as six of the states were collecting taxes from the
established churches and that fear of loss of revenue not humanistic reasons fueled their
"At that time, at least six states supported their own religions: Connecticut, Georgia,
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Those states taxed their
citizens to support those religions and required conformance in various ways. Those states
refused to ratify the constitution unless language would be added in an amendment that
insisted that the new federal government would not establish its own national religion that
would override their own state religions."
"None of the other Members of Congress who spoke during the August 15th debate expressed the
slightest indication that they thought the language before them ... would require that the
Government be absolutely neutral as between religion and irreligion. The evil to be aimed
at, so far as those who spoke were concerned, appears to have been the establishment of a
national church, and perhaps the preference of one religious sect over another; but it was
definitely not concerned about whether the Government might aid all religions evenhandedly."
dissenting opinion, Wallace v. Jaffree)