What do you hear in so many places around America when a student wants to pray in Jesus’ Name? “No way, Constitutional separation of church and state, you know.” What do you hear when a county wants to put a Nativity scene on their courthouse lawn at Christmas? “We can’t do that… Constitutional separation of church and state, after all.” What do you hear when a judge wants to post the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall? “What?!? Everyone knows that the Constitutional separation of church and state prevents that.” Or does it? Just what “Constitutional separation of church and state” is being referred to here? This is usually said by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and People for the American Way (PAW), groups which many of us would argue are obstructing many of our civil liberties rather than protecting them and whose attitudes in many instances are more anti-American than American.
Now, having said all that, I dare you to find the phrase “separation of church and state” in our official United States Constitution. In fact, I dare you to find the words “separation” or “church” in the Constitution. “Religion” is referenced in the Constitution, Amendment 1. This is part of our Bill of Rights, which were immediately enacted to protect citizens from the government, not government from the citizens.
Let us quote this section for you. “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.” (emphasis ours)
First, please notice the two emboldened phrases in the quote. Our Constitution actually commands that CONGRESS (not schools, not local governments, not even States) “shall make NO LAW…” Again, it doesn’t say anything about not praying, or speaking Jesus’ name, or having Christmas celebrations, or posting the Ten Commandments, but about making laws.
Second and most important, Congress as an arm of the federal government is Constitutionally and strictly forbidden from EVER preventing the free exercise of religion.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord… the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 12a, 18a)
Individually, and as a nation, we must give our God more than lip service. We must give Him the glory and honor due His Name. We must seek to obey the entirety of His Word. We must extend His grace and mercy to all, but never allow His justice and Truth to be compromised in our hearts or in our homes. May His Name be praised, and not profaned, in this country. Let us truly be “one nation, under God.”