1st Amendment

PLEASE Pass this on to Mikey
“What country have you been living in? The primary reason the pilgrims came to America was for religious freedom. It’s in the FIRST AMENDMENT. Why are you using your religious bigotry to tromp all over FREEDOM OF RELIGION?
Grow up and get a life!

(name withheld)

Hi (name withheld),

Thanks for your response. We are in agreement that the words “separation between church and state” are not found in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, however I have to assume you consider the body of laws handed down through the years by majorities of the U.S. Supreme Court – some liberal and some quite conservative – to be “governing” documents of the United States. As you no doubt know, there are many clearly understood and accepted legal doctrines that have been developed over the years to clarify issues that have arisen when the Constitution has not been seen as definitive. Even the freedom of speech issue you made reference to in your first message had to be added as an amendment.

Your point about the indefinite article and the meaning thereof is based on a misreading, I’m afraid. There is no article, definite or indefinite, between the words “of” and “religion” in the First Amendment.

As regards chaplains, no one at the MRFF has a problem with allowing them to do their work. What we object to, and what the law disallows, is forcing, promoting or promulgating a specific religious view on the women and men in uniform, period. To do so not only violates the law,it debases the legitimate work of a chaplain and disrespects the right of the subject individual to her or his freedom of belief.

I’m pleased to note that you recognize how inappropriate proselytizing in the military is and again urge you to check into the work of the MRFF. We can use the support of one who believes as strongly as you do in the rights of the individual.


Mike Farrell

Thanks for your response. I just want to point out a few facts that you need to be aware of. The phrase “separation between church and state” is not found in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or any other governing document of the United States. It was a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson in a private letter to a clergyman, and has since been welded by liberals to eradicate religion from the public, which the founding fathers had no intention of doing. Please note that in the First amendment, it guarantees Freedom of Religion and only specifies that “Congress shall not make any laws respecting a religion.” Note that the indefinite article in that prhase specifies “a” religion, not religion in general! I agree that individuals proselytizing in the military may be inapropriate, but preventing chaplins from doing counseling and preaching is inhibiting “FREEDOM OF RELIGION.” It’s unconstitutional!

Thank you
(name withheld)

Dear Mr. Farrell,

I correct my self, the indefinite article is “an” instead of “a”. The point is the same; congress shall make no law respecting a particular religion, but the forefathers had no intention eliminating religion in general from the government, as the forefathers clearly demonstrated by invoking the God to protect and bless in many of their government documents.
“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.”

(name withheld)

Dear Shell Abeggien,

Thanks for acknowledging the error. As to your contention about the forefathers’ intentions, I disagree, as does the U.S. Supreme Court, time and again. I think one can get into difficult territory assuming an understanding of the forefathers’ intentions, good examples being slavery and female suffrage. There were differences of opinion among the men who developed our governing documents, as most scholars understand, and their work has thus been left to posterity to analyze, clarify and amend where necessary.

In any event, the separation of church and state is a fully validated legal position, long upheld, and in this instance it has been demonstrated to be both beneficial and wise. Every member of the armed forces has the right to a personal religious or non-religious belief system, and, further, has the right to be protected from having another view foist on him or her by superiors or by the governmental body under which she or he serves.

The MRFF is doing no more than seeing to it that those rights are honored and protected. I’m sorry if you find our work offensive, but I do hope you’ll accept my invitation to look into our organization and its mission so that you’ll better understand that we fully support the freedom of religion that you so passionately defend.


Mike Farrell

Let’s do some history:

1. Actual Founder-Presidents #2 through #6—John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams—were all freethinking Deists and Unitarians; what Christian precepts they embraced were moderate, tolerant and open-minded.

2. Actual Founder-President #1, George Washington, became an Anglican as required for original military service under the British, and occasionally quoted scripture. But he vehemently opposed any church-state union. In a 1790 letter to the Jews of Truro, he wrote: The “Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.” A 1796 treaty he signed says “the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Washington rarely went to church and by some accounts refused last religious rites.

3. Washington was also the nation’s leading brewer, and since most Americans drank much beer (water could be lethal in the cities) they regularly trembled before the keg, not the altar.

4. Jefferson produced a personal Bible from which he edited out all reference to the “miraculous” from the life of Jesus, whom he considered both an activist and a mortal.

5. Tom Paine’s COMMON SENSE sparked the Revolution with nary a mention of Jesus or Christianity. His Deist Creator established the laws of Nature, endowed humans with Free Will, then left.

6. The Constitution never mentions the words “Christian” or “Jesus” or “Christ.”

7. Revolutionary America was filled with Christians whose commitment to toleration and diversity was completely adverse to the violent, racist, misogynist, anti-sex theocratic Puritans whose “City on the Hill” meant a totalitarian state. Inspirational preachers like Rhode Island’s Roger Williams and religious groups like the Quakers envisioned a nation built on tolerance and love for all.

8. The US was founded less on Judeo-Christian beliefs than on the Greco-Roman love for dialog and reason. There are no contemporary portraits of any Founder wearing a crucifix or church garb. But Washington was famously painted half-naked in the buff toga of the Roman Republic, which continues to inspire much of our official architecture.

9. The great guerilla fighter (and furniture maker) Ethan Allen was an aggressive atheist; his beliefs were common among the farmers, sailors and artisans who were the backbone of Revolutionary America.

10. America’s most influential statesman, thinker, writer, agitator, publisher, citizen-scientist and proud liberal libertine was—and remains—Benjamin Franklin. He was at the heart of the Declaration, Constitution and Treaty of Paris ending the Revolution. The ultimate Enlightenment icon, Franklin’s Deism embraced a pragmatic love of diversity. As early America’s dominant publisher he, Paine and Jefferson printed the intellectual soul of the new nation.

11. Franklin deeply admired the Ho-de-no-sau-nee (Iroquois) Confederacy of what’s now upstate New York. Inspired by the legendary peacemaker Deganawidah, this democratic congress of five tribes had worked “better than the British Parliament” for more than two centuries. It gave us the model for our federal structure and the images of freedom and equality that inspired both the French and American Revolutions.

(name withheld)

This is very interesting. However, there is plenty of history, if one looks for it less selectively, to point out a very different scenario than that suggested by your “proof.” Let me suggest some things for you to research, if you’re open to it.



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