Separation of church, state not in Constitution

Published 8:35 am Friday, February 18, 2011

To the Editor:

The phrase “separation of church and state” was introduced to our mainstream dialog in the mid-1930s by a group of secularists who assumed they had found support for their cause in the Establishment Clause of our Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …”

In my opinion, this clause does not even hint at separation of church and state, and our founding fathers never intended that either.

Understanding the Establishment Clause requires going back to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock and then coming forward. In Colonial times, a number of colonies had a preferred religion — the Episcopal Church (an extension of the Anglican Church) in Virginia, the Roman Catholic Church in Delaware and the Methodist Church in Georgia, etc.

In writing our Constitution, James Madison knew it would be too divisive for Congress to mandate a specific religion for our nation, so he penned the Establishment Clause, giving a somewhat equal status to all denominations.

Which of the following suggest separation of church and state?

Mandated: Every session of Congress shall open with a prayer to Almighty God.

Mandated: Every oath we take shall be followed with “so help me God “ (I understand this has been done away with. What does one say now when taking an oath—“so help me nobody?”)

And of course, stamped on every coin minted in our land: “In God We Trust.”

Sorry, I don’t see the separation here. What am I missing?

Tommy Joyner