For nearly a hundred years, American progressives have incorrectly argued the principle of separation of church and state, which appropriately prohibits a state-sponsored or controlled religion, also precludes an individual from expressing their religious perspective in their politics. As a result of this distortion, we have been forbidden to speak of God, invoke God’s blessing, display God’s commandments, or thank God for his myriad blessings in a public setting. The First Amendment (also called the “Establishment Clause”) that prohibits Congress from passing law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was not intended to exclude religion from American government and society but rather, by protecting the individual’s right of religious freedom, to encourage expression of the timeless and absolute virtues and morality common to Judeo-Christian tradition in government and society.
Our nation’s founding irrefutably has its basis in a Judeo-Christian understanding of ourexistence – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence, we read “We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states”. Our country’s founders understood “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are bestowed gifts intrinsic to our creation and thus form the immutable and absolute foundation to our government and society.
The founders not only comprehended that our God-given “unalienable rights” bestowed on us freedom and liberties but also a moral responsibility to God’ law – a law that is absolute and unchanging. They recognized that society founded on liberty unguided by virtue would devolve into an immorality and injustice. John Adams wrote “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and virtue…. Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” George Washington states in his Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports… reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
The founders in the Establishment Clause prohibited a state-favored religion at the Federal level to protect the individual’s right of religious choice thereby to promote religion in American society. They believed and understood the eternal and absolute virtue and morality common to all Judeo-Christian religions established the essential foundation of a just, stable, and prosperous free society.