Separation Clause

BEKKI &MRFF,

The term “separation clause” refers to nothing found in the U. S. constitution.  The idea that honoring God is separate from our governance is a false concept proposed by those who seek to undermine the corner stone upon which the founders built the structure of government – “.  .  . endowed by their Creator .  .  .”.
I will pray for your spirits that you will know the true peace and love that can come only from God.
Blessings,
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member   John Compere

Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
Attached for your enlightenment are accurate explanations in plain language of the facts, history & law relating to the Constitution, any religion & our military. Hopefully, you will find them information.
 
Most Sincerely,
John Compere
Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Response from MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein
…sorry, Robert, there word “God” appears NOWHERE in the Constitution for a reason..we do however have GENERATIONS of bedrock caselaw which incontrovertibly carves a deep chasm between church and state in America….just as The Founders fully intended….please spare me your disingenuous prayers……pray perhaps instead for your OWN enlightenment about how our wonderful country works….all best, MIkey Weinstein


 Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish
Dear (name withheld),
Contrary to what you may have heard we are not trying to take religion out of the military. There are laws regarding religious neutrality in any government entity and that includes the military. 

We are neither an atheist organization nor are we anti-Christian. Mikey is Jewish (and prays to the same Father we do 3 times a day) and 80% of the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters (300 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 48,300+ soldier clients are mainline Christians and we fight for them more than any other belief or non-belief.

 

“As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, Oct. 31, 1819

http://nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm

 

“Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic, materialist following in the steps of Democritis. His materialism led him to a general attack on superstition and divine intervention.”

 

Jefferson was also a Deist.

 

Deism is a form of Monotheism in which it is believed that one God exists, but that this God does not intervene in the world, or interfere with human life and the laws of the universe. It posits a non-interventionist creator who permits the universe to run itself according to natural laws.

 

Here’s the backdrop for the First Amendment of the Constitution. This is a brief summary and I suggest you research the historical facts listed here.

 

When Virginia was founded it established the Anglican Church as the state’s official religion based on the state sponsored Church of England. In order to hold any official position in the Virginia government you must be a member of the Anglican Church.

 

All citizens of Virginia, regardless of their religious affiliation, had to pay taxes to support the Anglican churches throughout the state. The Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists fought this by petitions but were ignored.

 

Jefferson felt that to make anyone pay a tax to support the Anglican Church or any church was wrong and in 1777 penned the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. After becoming Governor of Virginia in 1779, he brought the bill – known as Bill No. 82 – before the Virginia Assembly. It didn’t become law until 1785.

 

The following paragraph from the Virginia Statute is the basis for the First Amendment. It didn’t need this whole paragraph written out in the amendment because the people of that time understood what it meant.

 

“We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

 

This bill gave the people freedom from religion in all aspects of their lives. No longer were they forced to attend religious services, pay taxes to the state to fund the state sanctioned religion or kept from holding a job in the government.

 

Jefferson wrote the Statute of Religious Freedom, whose preamble indicted state religion, noting that “false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time” have been maintained through the church-state. To “compell a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”

 

In his Notes on Virginia (1782), Jefferson wrote: “Millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned. Yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. . .”

 

As retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra day O’Connor said “We don’t count heads before enforcing the First Amendment.”

 

In other words, the majority religion does not give them special privileges to rule or force themselves on other people.

 

The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797;a mere 8 yearssince our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.

 

Treaty of Tripoli:As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

 

The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief.

 

The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “The idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.”

 

“The Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered”. George Lincoln Burr (1857 – 1938), Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University

 

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

 

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.” 

James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, EcclesiasticalEndowments

 

“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773

 

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”

James Madison 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments

 

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

 

The Unites States is not a theocracy and according to our Founding Fathers the Constitution is not based on Christianity or biblical law.

 

As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.

 

“…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article I, III)

This means that from the President to Congress to the military – no one’s job is based on their religion.

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Free Exercise Clause).”(First Amendment)

 

The Establishment Clause means that you cannot favor one religion over another even though it is in the majority. This clause respects the RIGHTS of all religions. Our military is SECULAR and there are people of other faiths that don the uniform that love this country.

 

The Free Exercise Clause (which is subservient to the Establishment Clause) means that our soldiers are free to exercise any religion they want or no religion at all but cannot elevate one God above others.

 

“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320.

This is his second known use of the term “wall of separation,” here quoting his own use in the Danbury Baptist letter.

 

This wording of the original was several times upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause.

“Jefferson’s concept of “separation of church and state” first became a part of Establishment Clause jurisprudence in Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, the court examined the history of religious liberty in the US, determining that while the constitution guarantees religious freedom, “The word ‘religion’ is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted.” The court found that the leaders in advocating and formulating the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Quoting the “separation” paragraph from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, the court concluded that, “coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.

In 1878 “separation of church and state” became part of the Establishment Clause BY LAW.

 

The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment Clause.

 

Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with the Establishment Clause, known as the Lemon Test:

 

Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose,
2. does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion
3. does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion

 

Parker v. Levy:

“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society… While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. … The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it… Speech [in any form] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command.  If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.” (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974

 

AFI (Air Force Instruction) 1-1, Section 2.12:

2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.

 

To place the Christian god above all others is in violation of the Constitution (Establishment Clause), Reynolds v. U.S., Lemon v. Kurtzman, the Lemon Test, Parker v. Levy and AFI 1-1, Section 2.12.

 

When the military oversteps the laws in effect concerning religious neutrality, we step in to protect ALL soldiers’ religious freedoms.

 

Joan Slish

MRFF Advisory Board Member


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Hi (name withheld),

You’re right about the term ‘separation clause’ not appearing in the Constitution, but I’m sorry if you think that proves something. The phrase “… endowed by their Creator…” isn’t there either, as I trust you know.

Many legal terms and concepts derived from the actual wording of the Constitution have come to be clearly understood and are just as binding as they would be if the Founders thought of including them in the document. Actually, Thomas Jefferson came up with the concept of the separation of church and state and it has held as legal dicta for centuries.

No one here opposes your honoring God if you choose, but the government and those speaking for it, in order to protect the freedoms we cherish, may not promote one belief system over others.

Thanks for the prayers.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)


Response from MRFF’s Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs, Blake Page

Dear (name withheld),

Please name 10 modern countries that have governments that are explicitly based on a religion. Shouldn’t take long, just start in the Levant and work your way out.  Feel free to include rebel factions like ISIS, to make your research go by a little quicker.

Now, what exactly is it about those countries that you admire so much? Is it the “strong leadership” they demonstrate by siphoning the fruits of their population to prop up the gods of the state?  Or is it their viciousness in dealing with other countries that have slightly different state-gods?

A separate assignment: on a scale from academically negligent to maliciously stupid, how would you describe the decision made by the founders of this great country to exclude mention of it being a Christian state in our Constitution?  If you don’t blame the founders, which of the three branches of government across all of our country’s history do you think was misreading our laws as they continued to uphold (for whatever crazy reason) that the United States is not founded on the Christian religion, but rather is a secular state that does not advance or impede any faith?

Sincerely,

Blake A Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs


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2 Comments

  1. Connie

    Where is it Written
    Repeating a Lie Makes it
    Equal to the Facts

  2. G

    Thank you for the information, Ms. Slish. I wish this kind of information would be taught to American students in both elementary and high school.

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