Wednesday, May 07, 2008


"Promote" this ...

According to Gannett Tennessee's Turner Hutchens, the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from promoting religion. There're a great many souls in this country who share Mr. Hutchens' view; unfortunately, they're all hopelessly misguided and, well, just a little bit full of you-know-what.

I challenge Mr. Hutchens - and anyone who agrees with him - to find the words "promote" and "religion" in the constitution. They won't find 'em, of course, because, well, they ain't there.

I only wish I could have five minutes alone with Mr. Hutchens. I'd like to grab him up by his lapels and enlighten him by telling him this:

The Founding Fathers had no mindset of the separation of church and state in the way that we know of today. The Founding Fathers' mindset concerning the role of religion in American life was very narrowly defined. Indeed, James Madison himself defined it when he wrote the First Amendment.

The First Amendment, plain and simple, prohibits Congress from establishing a national denomination, as was the case in Great Britain when the Bill of Rights was ratified. The federal government cannot make us all Catholics, or all Anglicans, or all anything else.

Some would have us believe that the Founding Fathers envisioned a public square in which all forms of religious expression are to be suppressed. Not true. In fact, the first bill passed when the U.S. Capitol was completed was legislation allowing the halls of Congress to serve simultaneously as a church building. When Congress began holding regular sessions in Washington, DC, the largest church in the city met in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. (Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Separation of Church and State himself worhiped in that church during his entire presidency.)

Unfortunately, if any contemporary politician dared repeat the Founders' religious pronouncements in a public setting, he or she could bank on being portrayed as a religious nut by the ACLU and other leftist outfits. Yet, George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe and others often invoked the Judeo-Christian God as the source of American liberty. One need only read Tocqueville to understand how ubiquitous open religious expression was in the daily workings of our young republic.

I do not ask folks like Mr. Hutchens to interpret the Constitution as I see it. I simply implore them to examine the writings of the great souls who bestowed upon us the single greatest enshrinement of freedoms known to man. If they just that, they will learn that many of the accepted "facts" about our Founding Fathers' religious beliefs are not only wrong, they are outright distortions and lies.

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