Whenever people talk about morality in relation to government, someone always seems ready to ask, “What about separation of Church and State?”
“After all,” the argument goes, “that’s what the First Amendment is all about, isn’t it?”
The First Amendment
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,”
Absent are the words ‘separation,’ ‘church,’ and ‘state’
The myth that the First Amendment separates church and state has grown to such ridiculous proportions that it must be debunked before it contributes further to the moral breakdown of our country.
In his farewell speech, our first president said, “Of all the dispostitions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
What does it mean?
If the first amendment doesn’t require the separation of church and state, what is the primary concern it addresses?
“Clearly, the amendment prohibits congress from establishing a national morality. The real question is, does the amendment require absolute separation between government and religion to the point that everything public must be sanitized of any reference to God? That’s what the courts have led most people to believe over the past fifty years, but history doesn’t support this now popular view. The founders wanted to guarantee freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. If the first amendment guaranteed freedom from religion, it would also require freedom from speech, from assembly, and from the press.” (Legislating Morality: Is it wise? Is it Legal? Is it possible?, Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek).
Think about it
“There is no way of purging from human beings an understanding of right and wrong, of purging from common life a discourse about right and wrong. Once we think we are in the presence of real wrongs, we think (for example) that it’s wrong for people to torture their infants, our next response is not, ‘Ah, therefore, let’s give them tax incentives to induce them to stop.’ No, we respond with a law that forbids them.”
“Once you understand that this is the nature of the enterprise of ruling and governing, it becomes a matter of whether you will address the questions of right and wrong or whether you simply try to divert the questions and talk about something else.” (Hadley Arkes, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose).
“In this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” -Abraham Lincoln