Separation of Religion and Politics?

A poster on a photography forum I visit occasionally put up pictures taken at the Beck/Palin Restoring Honor rally in Washington, DC. The pictures are worth a look, especially the ObamaCare Official Pace Car (a hearse!) and a T shirt (I won't give it away - you'll have to look it up yourself).

Most of the comments are supportive both of the photos and the rally, but there are a few from lefties, such as this one:

But whatever happened to separation of Church & State? The rally was held in Washington, DC (about as political as it gets), and Glen Beck is a prominent political commentator, among other things. Whatever happened to the inclusion of people who don't believe in a supreme being? ... His reference to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was shameful.

Where to begin? As readers of American Thinker know, the phrase "separation of Church and State" occurs nowhere in the original Constitution nor the First Amendment. Jefferson used it in a letter written in 1802. The relevant clause in the First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (emphasis added).

The relevant portion of Jefferson's letter reads, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole 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 & State" (emphasis added).

The First Amendment, and Jefferson, emphatically do not say, "No religious body shall take part in political discussions" or any variant thereof. The First Amendment prohibits the Federal government from establishing an official state religion. Period.

I dwell on this at such length because confusion about what the Constitution says on religion is pervasive. Almost daily I see the bumper sticker that proclaims, "Last time religion was mixed with politics, people got burned at the stake." Yet the drivers, and the poster quoted above, no doubt revere Dr. King and his involvement in the civil rights movement. Can they really be unaware that the man's title was The Reverend Martin Luther King? That he was an ordained Baptist minister? That he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference? That Christian churches in England and America were instrumental in ending slavery? An exhaustive list of political causes that American religions have been involved in would be long indeed.

On a lighter note, a comment left by another leftie is hilarious: "The very first picture speaks volumes about this ‘movement.' They are a bunch of misguided closet racists and ignorant people." And what is the picture in question? A young boy, perhaps 8 years old, dressed in a Marine T shirt who said he is the "next generation of the lean, mean, fighting machine of the United States Marine Corps." And the lefties accuse conservatives of being unhinged!

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d@gmail.com.
A poster on a photography forum I visit occasionally put up pictures taken at the Beck/Palin Restoring Honor rally in Washington, DC. The pictures are worth a look, especially the ObamaCare Official Pace Car (a hearse!) and a T shirt (I won't give it away - you'll have to look it up yourself).

Most of the comments are supportive both of the photos and the rally, but there are a few from lefties, such as this one:

But whatever happened to separation of Church & State? The rally was held in Washington, DC (about as political as it gets), and Glen Beck is a prominent political commentator, among other things. Whatever happened to the inclusion of people who don't believe in a supreme being? ... His reference to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was shameful.

Where to begin? As readers of American Thinker know, the phrase "separation of Church and State" occurs nowhere in the original Constitution nor the First Amendment. Jefferson used it in a letter written in 1802. The relevant clause in the First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (emphasis added).

The relevant portion of Jefferson's letter reads, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole 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 & State" (emphasis added).

The First Amendment, and Jefferson, emphatically do not say, "No religious body shall take part in political discussions" or any variant thereof. The First Amendment prohibits the Federal government from establishing an official state religion. Period.

I dwell on this at such length because confusion about what the Constitution says on religion is pervasive. Almost daily I see the bumper sticker that proclaims, "Last time religion was mixed with politics, people got burned at the stake." Yet the drivers, and the poster quoted above, no doubt revere Dr. King and his involvement in the civil rights movement. Can they really be unaware that the man's title was The Reverend Martin Luther King? That he was an ordained Baptist minister? That he helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference? That Christian churches in England and America were instrumental in ending slavery? An exhaustive list of political causes that American religions have been involved in would be long indeed.

On a lighter note, a comment left by another leftie is hilarious: "The very first picture speaks volumes about this ‘movement.' They are a bunch of misguided closet racists and ignorant people." And what is the picture in question? A young boy, perhaps 8 years old, dressed in a Marine T shirt who said he is the "next generation of the lean, mean, fighting machine of the United States Marine Corps." And the lefties accuse conservatives of being unhinged!

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d@gmail.com.

RECENT VIDEOS