by Lorrie Tevabaugh

The First Amendment Should be for Everyone

Anytime religion is mentioned in government today, or anywhere outside of church for that matter, many begin to cry “separation of church and state.”

Some people falsely think this statement appears in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and therefore must be strictly enforced.

However the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution says:

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.

 

Note, the actual words, “separation” or “church” or “state” do not even appear in the First Amendment. The phrase “separation of church and state” was coined after Thomas Jefferson sent a letter to a Baptist congregation in Connecticut in 1802. A rumor abounded then that the new United States government might establish a national religion. In his letter, Jefferson assured the Baptist congregation that because of the First Amendment, no such religion would be established.

To understand the fear of the people of 1802, one must first understand the historical background on which their anxiety stood. Previously, in England, due to the state sponsored church mandate, private worship in homes was forbidden, while mandatory attendance of the state church was strictly enforced. Failure to adhere to the rules meant severe punishment such as torture and imprisonment.

The writers of the United States Constitution wanted to ensure freedom of religion. The idea was not to limit religion but to limit government's involvement in religion. Our founding fathers were God-fearing men who sought to establish a firm governmental foundation backed by strong Christian values.

Many don't want to acknowledge the truth that our society and its laws originate with the Bible. Common sense clearly shows that most of our laws today directly relate to the Ten Commandments.

It seems that in today's society that the idea of separation of church and state has advanced to a ridiculous level. Let's remember that the First Amendment soundly and foremost assures religious freedom. It also guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press.

Because so many today are worried about political correctness, I, as well as the majority of Americans, now deal with reverse discrimination. While I cannot force religion on others, I must be extremely careful as to how I worship, so as to not offend someone who does not have the same beliefs.

In every governmental society, one view dominates. The vast majority of Americans proclaim Christianity. To ignore that fact, and worse, to ask Christians to continually bite their tongue, so as to not offend others, is unrealistic. To say that Biblical principles should not be allowed in government and schools is to ignore the original intention of our founding fathers.

 

The vast majority of Americans, Christians, need to take a stand and be heard. Remember, the intention of the First Amendment was not to limit religion but to limit government's involvement in religion. I feel however, that government has in fact limited my religious freedom and my First Amendment rights.

 

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