Separation of church and state
Separation of church and stateMy fellow Papillionite, Ruth Lienemann (Pulse 1/29) is indeed correct that the words "separation of church and state" are not in the Constitution but in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. I wonder if she knows that in using those words he was describing the First Amendment in regards to religious liberty. My take on the Establishment Clause has changed little since the day I learned it in grade school; government cannot dictate which religion, if any, a person should follow, and religion cannot tell government how to act. I also find it specious to mention his being in France. In being one of our Founding Fathers he was influential to the Constitution in that he was a friend and colleague of Madison and others who did write it, and knowledgeable of their intentions. In fact he even corresponded with those at the Constitutional Convention. It is probable this is why previous Supreme Court justices saw fit to consider Jefferson's words as synonymous to the First Amendment's intent.
In addition to the Second Amendment, there is Article VI, paragraph 3 of the original Constitution: "...but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
It must also be remembered that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the freedoms of the Constitution apply to the states as well as to the federal government.
Are atheists American?
Good discussion, Christocrats