Misreading Jefferson on Church and State

From Jerry Newcombe at BarbWire.com:

Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you might have noticed there seems to be an ongoing onslaught against our Judeo-Christian traditions and beliefs. It’s happening on virtually every front in our culture—in schools, in the media and movies, in the public arena.

Many elitists today interpret the First Amendment in such a way as to turn it into a “search and destroy mission for any sneaky vestiges of religion left in the public square,” as one Christian law professor put it. That’s what separation of church and state means nowadays.

Virtually all of this is done, consciously or unconsciously, in the name of Thomas Jefferson. After all, it was he who gave us the phrase “separation of church and state.” But what he meant by the phrase and what the ACLU and their allies mean are two different things.
First of all, Jefferson wasn’t even in the country when the founders wrote the Constitution. He was in France, serving as our ambassador. Nor was Jefferson directly involved in the crafting of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

In 1947, the Supreme Court took an obscure letter of Jefferson’s, written to the Baptists of Danbury, CT, in which he quoted the First Amendment and said that it built “a wall of separation between church and state.”

Prior to that 1947 decision, there were few cases regarding the establishment clause. After it, it was as if the floodgates were opened up—eventually washing away things like school prayer and Bible-reading (which had gone on for centuries, beginning in the colonies), and the posting of the Ten Commandments in public. And now it never stops.

Todd Starnes of Fox News documents the current war against all things Christian in the public arena is his new book, God Less America.

I interviewed Todd recently on our television program and mentioned how the idea of “God less America” is an oxymoron, since our national birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence (written by Jefferson, of course), says that our rights are come from the Creator.

Todd responded, “… the atheist and the secularist, they really truly want God to be removed from the public marketplace of ideas…” And what happens if they are successful?

Read more: BarbWire.com