Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Wall of Separation

I recently received an email from a someone claiming their rights have been violated because prayer in public schools, football games, and other public events is not allowed. Let's contemplate that for a moment. The "wall of separation" as Jefferson called it, is a fundamental element of our constitution. The separation of church and state actually gives everyone the freedom to practice the religion of their choice. The absence of that wall is what led to the first European settlements on this continent, so that they were able to practice as they chose. I would say not praying in a particular faith at a public event is small payment for the freedom we all enjoy as a result.

As Jefferson so elequently stated, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. "

The entire text of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Assocation may be found here.

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