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Regarding the Separation of Church and State

The ideas are as old as the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights: a free Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all, not just for some; a free Nation, of, by and for the People, not just for some of the people; a free Nation, where all men are created Equal, not just some men.

These documents were never meant to endow only some men with the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, but all men.

When a Nation begins to veer from the intent of these Documents, the Citizen has the right–nay, the responsibility–to protest against those who abrogate their duty to uphold the Spirit of Freedom ensured under the umbrella of protection these documents offer.

So goes America; “The Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave!”

The prime reason whereby this great Nation was founded lies in the manner by which its citizens were Governed under English rule. It was the Tyranny of The Crown against American colonies that provoked our Continental Congress to compose our Declaration of Independence.

Yes, it is true that Jefferson invoked the “protection of Divine Providence” in its construct, but nowhere within its content, other than referring to that protection as “Nature’s God,” is any particular religion espoused!

Thus is the American citizen’s inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness ensured, whether he be of this or that religious persuasion, or of no religious persuasion at all! This idea is at the foundation of any debate on the Separation of Church and State. The Founders of the Constitution knew very well the dangers inherent in promoting any one religious belief over any other. It was John Leland, a staunch supporter of Jeffersonian language and a Baptist preacher, who in 1802 warned:

Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion, in choosing representatives. It is electioneering. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it, proves that they are void of it!

Although his rights are equal to any citizen’s right to believe as he wills, I charge the President of these United States to curtail his Christian Fundamentalism, and not to apprise the American constituency of his personal belief in Jesus while in his role as the leader of this Free Nation. I further abjure the Supreme Court to reconsider its determination regarding our Pledge of Allegiance, and beg their understanding of the perspective of Francis Bellamy, the Baptist minister who composed it.

Bellamy’s intent was for The Pledge to represent a patriotic oath to “his” American flag, and for the Republic for which it stood. The fact that Congress, in 1954, added the words, “under God” (after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus), and perverted the patriotic oath into becoming a public prayer, does not speak well of a body dedicated to ensure for the Separation of Church and State.

The direction of the United States of America has been altered with the establishment of this Administration’s religious convictions. Regardless of the moral fiber woven into the fabric of the patchwork quilt which is its citizenry, America cannot return to its English root and act as did the Church of England against its colonists. In spite of the seeming decay of portions of its society–its morality, criminality, and disregard for the Common Good–America is, above all, what Abraham Lincoln recognized it to be, and what lay at the heart of its most binding tie:

What great principle or idea it was kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land; but something in that Declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance!

Speaking on behalf of any and all men and women of good will, whether religious or no, I am, with respect, and in friendship,

Harvey Freilich