“The Separation of Church and State” is a famous phrase used by many Americans to summarize their own opinion of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This phrase has been the subject of many heated debates in the United States since the 1940s.
Most uninformed people act as if the phrase itself is literally impressed upon the sacred parchment of the U.S. Constitution. This part of the American vernacular has been most unwelcome for many God fearing Christians but is a favorite among atheists and agnostics.
Here is the popular portion of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment that actually is part of the U.S. Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
Many people extrapolate from the Establishment Clause a total prohibition of anything remotely associated with the Christian God from all branches of local, state, and federal government. Of course, the Christian God of the Holy Bible is the primary target of those who proudly tout the “Separation of Church and State.” Other religions seem to avoid the kind of scrutiny received by the Cross of Christ.
The Framers thought that by using plain and explicit terms they would prevent any future religious oppression by the government. Apparently they did not foresee the mysterious delusion and apostasy of future generations that would allow the truth to be twisted into a lie; that would allow the exact opposite of their explicit intent to become a reality.
From schoolhouses to firehouses, from city parks to city streets, displays of “Merry Christmas” and white crosses erected as roadway memorials are strictly prohibited all in the name of the “Separation of Church and State.” Phrases like “In God We Trust” and “Under God” are mercilessly targeted as violations of the separation of church and state.
It cannot be denied that Thomas Jefferson did indeed use this famous phrase in his letter written to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, CT. However, his reply to the Association should be viewed in the context to which it applies; addressing their concerns over the potential of a future government imposed state religion.
I would like to include the complete letters sent by both the Danbury Baptist Association and Thomas Jefferson to in order to provide the entire context of each.
Letter from the Danbury Baptist Association to Thomas Jefferson:
The address of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801.
To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America
Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office, we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your inauguration, to express our great satisfaction in your appointment to the Chief Magistracy in the United States. And though the mode of expression may be less courtly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, sir, to believe, that none is more sincere.
Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But sir, our constitution of government is not specific.
Our ancient charter, together with the laws made coincident therewith, were adapted as the basis of our government at the time of our revolution. And such has been our laws and usages, and such still are, [so] that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation, and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights.
And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgments, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore, if those who seek after power and gain, under the pretense of government and Religion, should reproach their fellow men, [or] should reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dares not, assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.
Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States is not the National Legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each State, but our hopes are strong that the sentiment of our beloved president, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these States–and all the world–until hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the earth.
Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and goodwill shining forth in a course of more than thirty years, we have reason to believe that America’s God has raised you up to fill the Chair of State out of that goodwill which he bears to the millions which you preside over.
May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you–to sustain and support you and your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.
And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.
Signed in behalf of the Association,
Neh,h Dodge }
Eph’m Robbins } The Committee
Stephen S. Nelson }
Thomas Jefferson’s reply back to the Danbury Baptists:
Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen s. Nelson A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut.
Washington, January 1, 1802
Gentlemen,–The affectionate sentiment of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative 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 would “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802
This famous summary penned by Thomas Jefferson is often used as “evidence” that clearly demonstrates his intentions are equal to those of atheists and agnostics. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the Establishment Clause was put in place to prevent religious oppression by the government, not support it. The litigation that has been and continues to be enacted is in direct contradiction to the Establishment Clause. It clearly states that the government cannot make laws that prevent the free exercise of religion.
When a branch of government enacts a law that prevents itself, or another branch of government from engaging in the free exercise of religion, it is in fact violating its own rights with its own law which also violates its own law. Sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it?
Some say if a teacher at a local school leads the classroom in prayer that is a governmental endorsement of religion. Public schoolhouses are funded by taxpayer money and run by the local school board which is a branch of local government.
Of course in reality a praying teacher is not making any laws respecting the establishment of a particular religion at all. The teacher is actually a government employee engaging in the free exercise of religion. A school teacher does not have the power to make a law respecting the establishment of religion but they do have the right to engage in the free exercise thereof:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
Those offended by what they sometimes view as a governmental endorsement of religion often seem to view that “endorsement” as commensurate with a law made to respect an establishment of religion. Voluntarily putting up signs in a courtroom or in front of city hall is not the same action as making a law that says those same signs must be put in place by the local government.
There is a big difference between the government engaging in the free exercise of religion and a law that forces the government to engage in religion. Congress and the government have no right to make any law that forces anyone, including the government, to engage or not engage in exercise of their religion.
History proves it a fairly obvious fact that America’s founding fathers were certainly not hostile toward the Christian God of the Bible. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and many others honored and reverenced the God of the Bible while in office.
After all, if Thomas Jefferson was in favor of a solid wall totally separating government and God, it is doubtful he would have concluded his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists reciprocating their kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common Father and Creator of man.
There is no doubt that the intent of Thomas Jefferson was to firmly assure the Danbury Baptists that the Wall of Separation was a hedge put in place by the framers to protect the church from the government. He wisely chose not to get the government involved in matters of the church.
He chose not to take the side of a particular religion or a particular denomination of the Protestant Church. He did not enforce the edicts of the establishment of a state religion endorsed by the government of Connecticut.
For some mysterious reason, many who hate God also hate freedom. The “Separation of church and state” is commonly used by those who hate the God of the Bible to “separate” themselves from those of us who love the God of the Bible.
In contrast, the only people who truly support genuine freedom of thought, conscience, spirit, and religion are those who understand the concept of the grace received through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those who currently wish to separate themselves as far as they can from the God of the Bible under the guise of the separation of church and state seem to completely misunderstand the grace of God. He is currently allowing them to live freely in their sin while the true church that they so much want to be separated from still remains on this earth.
Of course earthly consequences of sin still affect all people. Fighting, violence, war, disease, etc. are all consequences of sin. Promiscuous behavior, violent behavior, and fraudulent behavior will often result in an earthly consequence of some sort. However, consequence does not necessarily equal punishment.
It is only after their wish of total separation from the true Church is granted that they will no longer be allowed to live freely in their sin. Those who want separation will finally have to face the wrath of God and His punishment for their rejection of Him.
It is so sad that they do not understand that their current freedom is a direct result of the grace bestowed upon the earth through the true Church that they so they so desperately wish to separate themselves from.
The Wall of Separation referred to by Thomas Jefferson is in reality a great barrier erected to prevent tendencies toward a theocratic form of tyranny like that of the Church of England. A theocratic government is a very dangerous thing in the full control of mankind.
What happens when the dynamic changes and those who are faithful to the God of the Bible no longer represent a majority of the church in America? What if the majority shifted from those who believe in the freedom granted by the God of the Bible to those who believe in the jihad demanded by Allah?
The only theocracy that is safe for all mankind will be when Jesus Christ Himself sits on His throne in the midst of Zion:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Genesis 49:10, Luke 1:32-33).
Unfortunately, the persistent proclamation that a wall of separation exists between the true church and the state has led to the perversion of most American courts. Evidence of this is borne out in verdict after verdict and ruling after ruling. These courts continue to deny the constitutional rights of people of faith to freely exercise their Christian faith in public and, very soon in private as well.
This form of judicial tyranny has been empowered by the systematic emasculation of the strong and faithful Christian church leadership of decades past. The intention of the founding fathers was to prevent this form of tyranny in the first place. What a sad commentary on the smoke and mirrors of Satan’s consistent and effective method of the misdirection in plain sight of the most important and obvious issues.
If there indeed does exist a wall separating the state from the church, then an American president should not be able to legally demand that the church change its beliefs on any issue. An American president should not have right to bully any church in America to change its beliefs regarding its support of homosexual marriage and clergy, support of abortion, support for the nation of Israel, climate change, etc. etc.
Just because it’s now legal to end the life of your child or to defy the natural order of procreation doesn’t mean that the church should be demanded to change its belief system to accommodate these immoral laws. A wall separating an overbearing state from a faithful church would protect that faithful church from such persecution.
I have a strange feeling that the status quo that has claimed all along that a wall of separation exists between church and state will soon change. Without warning we may start to hear politicians, teachers, members of the media, etc. begin to agree with those who have tirelessly claimed that no such wall of separation exists between church and state.
For I can think of no more an effective mechanism that would allow the state to have control over the church than for the church to heave its door wide open allowing the state to swagger right on in and up to the pulpit to give its hellish sermon.
We are called to be a church with an open door to those who want to honor and serve the God of the Bible, not to those who hate and want to destroy Him. The faithful church has a door open to the Word of God and the Lord Jesus Himself.
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Revelation 3:8).
The unfaithful church has a door slammed shut to the Lord but wide open to the world.
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:16-17, 19-22).
In the not so distant future the so-called wall that separates the church and the state will be torn down giving way to the one-world religion of the theocratic government of the Antichrist.