Originally created 08/13/02

Jefferson, the Constitution refute letter writer's 'Big Lie'

So, Andy Windham (July 15 letter, "ACLU 'Communists' use 'Big Lie' to subvert freedom") thinks the "Big Lie" is that "separation of church and state" provides all residents here with freedom of religion, thereby not having someone else's religious beliefs shoved down our throats.

Actually, the "Big Lie" is believing that the phrase "separation of church and state" has to be in the Constitution verbatim in order to have a legal separation of church and state on religious issues.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter dated Jan. 1, 1802, to the Danbury Baptist Association, wrote, "American people, which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

Thus, Mr. Jefferson, whose epitaph lists the accomplishments for which he most wanted to be remembered ... believed that a "wall of separation between church and state" existed, even though that phrase was not in the Constitution.

Even the very conservative U.S. Supreme Court has not overruled previous court decisions on basic religious issues, such as abortion, mandatory school prayer, etc.

Those who want to inflict their conservative views on religious issues try to get rid of separation of church and state in order to get the courts to overturn prior court decisions, so they pretend that the separation between church and state does not exist, because it is not in the Constitution.

The Constitution and Mr. Jefferson's letter completely refute this premise.

Richard Amundson, Augusta


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