I am busy writing an essay on Spirituality and History and by chance came upon this article about the separation of Church and State in America.
I found it rather interesting and found myself wondering if this is "common knowledge", and even whether it were true at all. It just seems like most Americans speak of their countries founding as though it were closely related to the Christian faith. (I get multiple forwarded emails about how Christianity has been removed from its historical place in America and therefore America's morality etc is eroding).
Could anybody tell me if this article is true or not. Any comments about it would also be interesting.
I looked at the article you linked to, and it seems to me it is the typical leftist/secular argument, posing as simply “rational” thought, with a wide array of evidence "proving" that the Founders were really secular, and not religious. Whatever!
They quote Thomas Jefferson on the separation of church and state, but they never actually quote him on anything else. Again, for example:
quote: Jefferson's public support for religion appears, however, to have been more than a cynical political gesture. Scholars have recently argued that in the 1790s Jefferson developed a more favorable view of Christianity that led him to endorse the position of his fellow Founders that religion was necessary for the welfare of a republican government, that it was, as Washington proclaimed in his Farewell Address, indispensable for the happiness and prosperity of the people. Jefferson had, in fact, said as much in his First Inaugural Address. His attendance at church services in the House was, then, his way of offering symbolic support for religious faith and for its beneficent role in republican government.
-------- Please see the link attached for a pretty good historical overview of how the establishment clause became linked to a comment by Thomas Jefferson, and how this has been used over the past 200 years.
Thanks for your response, just wondering, that first link did not take me to the quote you gave, instead it took me to a page that seemed to indicate similar concepts as the page i linked to e.g.
quote: Jefferson believed in the existence of a Supreme Being who was the creator and sustainer of the universe and the ultimate ground of being, but this was not the triune deity of orthodox Christianity. He also rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ, but as he writes to William Short on October 31, 1819, he was convinced that the fragmentary teachings of Jesus constituted the "outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man." In correspondence, he sometimes expressed confidence that the whole country would be Unitarian, but he recognized the novelty of his own religious beliefs. On June 25, 1819, he wrote to Ezra Stiles, "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."
Re. separation of Church and state, it's also been my understanding that the constitutional prohibition pertained to the establishment of a state religion such as was found in England and throughout Europe at the time (still in places, today). This principle has been interpreted more broadly by various Supreme Courts during the past few decades.
-------------------- "The Light shines on in darkness . . ." - John 1: 3 - Posts: 7539 | From: Wichita, KS | Registered: Aug 2001
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I have read that the principals pushing for codifying the separation of church and state were in fact the developing smaller sects (at the time) in the Southern US. They wanted to be assured that some other sect could not force their views on them by declaring an "official" religion for the USA or forcing that larger sect's point of view on morality on the general population.
We don't abjure blood transfusions, for example, because one group of Christians consider it forbidden. Nor in my view, should religious beliefs be added to curricula under the guise of Science.
Clearly, to me, we must assume a "generalized" morality under which all established religions and points of view can flourish.