Despite the original intent of the Constitution and as expressed in the First Amendment, the Left has been victorious in using the federal judiciary to remove religious expression from the public square. Their campaign has been so successful that it is virtually ingrained in the American’s political consciousness: “separation of church and state.” And yet, it has evolved that some religions are apparently more equal than others in the eyes of leftists. That appears to be true of Islam in America, which even the federal government seems to promote these days.
The Nation of Islam and its leaders have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the U.S. government since 2008 to teach religious study programs for federal prison inmates, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner. A black nationalist group led by Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam preaches that white people are “blue-eyed devils” and Jews are “the synagogue of Satan.” Its leaders have received at least $364,500 in contracts and awards from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2019. The funding was designed to provide “Nation of Islam religious services,” “Nation of Islam spiritual guide services,” “Nation of Islam study services,” and other related programming led by the organization’s leaders, according to Bureau of Prison records. The Nation of Islam has been labeled a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Let’s examine the issue in detail. The First Amendment guarantees freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. The amendment’s proscription is specifically against “state-sponsored religion,” with which the Founders had adverse personal experience (i.e., the Church of England). Note the following commentary:
Madison’s original proposal for a bill of rights provision concerning religion read: ”The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.” The language was altered in the House to read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.” In the Senate, the section adopted read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .” It was in the conference committee of the two bodies, chaired by Madison, that the present language was written with its somewhat more indefinite ”respecting” phraseology.
Debate in Congress lends little assistance in interpreting the religion clauses; Madison’s position, as well as that of Jefferson who influenced him, is fairly clear, but the intent, insofar as there was one, of the others in Congress who voted for the language and those in the States who voted to ratify is subject to speculation. During House debate, Madison told his fellow Members that ”he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience.”
Note that it was Jefferson (who didn’t write the Constitution) who declared that is was the purpose of the First Amendment to build “a wall of separation between Church and State.” And those are the words that the atheists and the Communist-associated ACLU have been leveraging (they tout Jefferson but ignore Madison). Refer to this for evidence of the ACLU’s Communist ties. The Communists well knew from the own experience in Russia that free expression of religion was to be undermined, condemned and outlawed in order to promote the Revolution and gain control of the state. The American Communist Party – still active – has been pursuing this end since its founding, and the ACLU has long been a fellow-traveler organization actively aiding the cause.
I highly recommend reading “The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States,” by Benjamin F. Morris. You will be totally amazed at the Christian nature of our heritage of civil government at all levels, and the open expression of Christian beliefs in the public square throughout our early history. It was written in 1864, and its message has been suppressed and undermined by the Left for over 100 years. Compare the message conveyed that book to the secular reality of America’s institutions these days. It’s a tragedy!
Like most Americans, I subscribe to the Golden Rule (treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated), but that has nothing to do with the free exercise of religion. Many on the Left have tried to use it to justify “separation of church and state.” Rather, I believe that everyone has the right of religious expression in any venue, including the public square, and that those who believe otherwise are themselves intolerant (and fearful?) of that right of expression.
I reiterate that the issue is tolerance of all religions, not suppression of any in the public square. Try as I might, I cannot find instances of how the majority religion (Christianity) has suppressed the public expression of minority religions in American history. Can anyone explain how public expression of Christian beliefs inhibits the expression of other beliefs in the public square? I just don’t see it, as America’s Christians are largely the most tolerant people on the face of the planet. Additionally, secularism (and its pursuit by Communists and other fellow-travelers) is a modern phenomenon. As that book I cited above describes, our public institutions were directly influenced and supported by Christian concepts, and religious expression in the public square was tolerated at all levels of the government. The atheist Left has been pursuing the removal of religion (i.e., Christian expression in particular) in the pursuit of the “Rule of Men,” which is not limited by the constraints of God, from whom all morality is derived.
Here is another reference that is very illuminating on the subject of Morality, Anti-Morality, and Socialism. A few poignant excerpts:
The American moral code is founded upon the common teachings of the Judeo-Christian religions and comprises three sets of teachings: 1) God-given directives that either require or forbid certain behaviors; 2) psychological attributes called vices; and 3) psychological attributes called virtues. First, morality encompasses religious statutes and commandments. Second, it concerns aspects of selfishness called vice: pride, lust, anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, and envy. It teaches recognizing and suppressing these tendencies in oneself. Morality teaches that even biological reactions necessary for survival, like anger and sexual lust, create moral vulnerabilities that are to be transcended. Third, the moral code includes virtues, or psychological attributes of selflessness, which are taught by all the Judeo-Christian religions.
Prior to the mid-twentieth century, American law, literature, social convention, and popular culture tended to inculcate the tripartite moral code. Socialism encourages venality and corruption because it operates on the level of law, not morality. American socialism encourages people to contribute as little as possible while taking everything they can get — inevitably less than what virtuous effort can earn in a free-market economy. In Soviet socialism everybody had to work, but American socialism rewards people for the structural choices not to work, not to marry, not to raise and educate their own children.
Socialism (absent morality) is what the Squad and virtually ALL of the Democrats’ Star Wars bar scene (the Democrat presidential candidates) would visit upon all of us if they can hoodwink enough Americans to vote Democrat in 2020 (and/or steal it via voter fraud!).
For more historical context, the indomitable John Locke and others are examined in this excellent article on Freedom of Religion and America. Here are just a few quotes from this article about the historical importance of Locke to America; it’s a travesty that so few Americans learn about his contributions these days, as the public education system has virtually excised mention of him in most textbooks:
Englishman John Locke (1632—1704) is arguably our most influential modern thinker. He is regarded as the leading light of several signal movements, without which the modern era would be inconceivable, including—Classical Liberalism (aka modern Conservatism), Property Rights, the Enlightenment, Libertarianism, Empiricism, Natural Rights, and Freedom of Religion, etc.
John Locke was a 17th-century English philosopher whose ideas formed the foundation of liberal democracy and greatly influenced the American Revolution. He taught all people are born equal and education can free people from the subjugation of tyranny. Locke believed government was morally obligated to guarantee individuals always retained sovereignty over their own rights, including property ownership resulting from their own labor. Locke was a colossus to the Founders, and in terms of influence, he is the main influence on the Declaration. John Locke’s tolerant view of religion was handed down to the colonies and Founders by the time of the Constitutional Convention.
The First Amendment Religion Clause is the result of four separate influences, being Puritan, Evangelical, Enlightenment and Republican. [There are] six principles of religious liberty common amongst them—liberty of conscience, free exercise of religion, religious pluralism, religious equality, separation of church and state, and disestablishment of religion. There is no doubt that America, during the time leading right up to the drafting of the Constitution, was an extremely pious and Christian society. [Largely influenced by Locke,] the language of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause reads thus: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
That last sentence is critical! Think about how the Left has perverted the commonsense meaning of that last phrase in particular! Let’s add some more historical context on what has led to the present receding of the expression of religious values in the public square. How did it all happen?
The Declaration of Independence, our most foundational national charter, spoke of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” We should not over-read this statement, but we dare not under-read it. The Founders claimed an authority higher than themselves and natural rights and liberties that were pre-political, pre-constitutional, pre-governmental, and prior to our own respect.
When belief in God recedes, the only secure ground of human rights and human dignity recedes as well. Solzhenitsyn had it right. You ask how this happened. Men have forgotten God. That is how all this has happened. Eventually, natural rights will not be recognized if those natural rights are intellectually separated from their supernatural origin. That is now sadly demonstrated in the course of modern history.
God, our Creator, has indeed revealed human dignity and human rights in the natural order, accessible to all, but men who will not recognize the Creator will soon not recognize the rights the Creator has revealed in nature – indeed in human nature, by the imago Dei.
To carry this further, I would argue that, thanks to leftwing activism in recent decades by the likes of the ACLU, we have collectively lost sense of what the Founders intended regarding the expression of religion in the public square – namely its free expression. And yet, despite the Left’s triumph in promoting “separation of church and state,” they hypocritically provide state support (our tax dollars!) to their favored religions, e.g., Islam, whenever it suits them politically. We need to return to the Founder’s original intent! And that means bringing free expression of religious beliefs right back into the public square where it is desperately needed these days.
Always remember, folks: to the Left, the rule of law is completely arbitrary and only in service of leftwing politics. Their perversion of the phrase “separation of church and state” is an exemplar in that regard. And it is why the Left cannot be bargained or compromised with but must be defeated politically over and over again in order for the Republic to be preserved as the Founders intended.