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Mark Caserta: Liberals mislead regarding First Amendment

11 Jun


Mark Caserta: Free State Patriot Editor

Jun. 11, 2015 @ 12:01 AM

I recall during a presidential debate in 1999 when the moderator asked the candidates to identify their favorite political philosopher. George W. Bush created a firestorm in the liberal media when he spontaneously and unflinchingly replied, “Jesus Christ, because he changed my life.” The media had a field day castigating Bush for bringing Christianity into politics.

For years, progressives have diligently sought the complete and absolute removal of Christianity from politics. And frankly, we’ve allowed them far too much success. The phrase “separation of church and state” has been bantered about so often by liberals, that many people believe it’s in the Constitution. But not only is the phrase not in the constitution, neither is the concept as propagated by progressives.

The text of the First Amendment reads as follows: “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.”

As you can see, the First Amendment doesn’t contain the words “separation of church and state.” The words can, however, be traced back to a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote back in 1802 in response to a concern voiced by the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut about religious freedom. In his letter, Jefferson used the phrase as a metaphor depicting the First Amendment as a “wall of separation” between the church and government interference in religion.

Also notice that there are two parts to the First Amendment that reference religion: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. Today, much is said about the establishment clause, but very little is said about the free exercise clause.

While progressives often attempt to rewrite history to advance their agenda, our Founding Fathers had a keen perspective on the unique and important relationship between religion and the world they wanted to create for themselves and their heirs.

declaration signing

Leading up to the Revolution, these men witnessed their civil liberties trampled upon by the King of England and Parliament. The First Amendment was meant to protect these basic civil liberties and to ensure government was never able to force a particular religion upon the people or suppress their right to practice it openly. Their recognition of the importance of religious freedom to American democracy prompted the framers to enshrine it forever in the First Amendment.

But through the years, liberal courts and progressives have perverted the Framers’+ intent, essentially trampling upon the free exercise clause through misrepresentation of the establishment clause. Liberals would have you believe that any open display of worship, such as prayer in public schools or displaying the Ten Commandments, is somehow government “making a law respecting the establishment of religion” or “state sponsored religion,” which is absurd.

The strict separation of religion and government was not meant to prohibit openly practicing religion; it was meant to protect it!

It’s time we accept that religious freedom was never meant to be freedom from religion.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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