Q&A – What the Constitution Says About Government & Religion

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Q&A – What the Constitution Says About Government & Religion 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.       

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com      

Social: @brianmuddradio     

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.        

Today’s Entry: Brian, thank you for speaking up for Christians. It’s outrageous to see President Biden attempting to turn Easter into a “transgender day” and the Easter egg roll into a secular event. This reminded me of a topic I’ve wanted to have addressed. I know that “separation of church and state” is falsely characterized but I don’t know how to explain this to others. Will you please address this? Thank you! 

Bottom Line: As you correctly note the notion of there being a constitutionally mandated separation between church and state is falsely characterized. In fact, it doesn’t exist within the Constitution. What’s commonly referred to as the first reference to the separation of church and state in the United States came well after our country’s founding. It was in 1802 when Thomas Jefferson stated that the government should: make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That was instructive because it was straight out of the Establishment Clause to the 1st Amendment which states: 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. What there isn’t in the constitution is an edict that there must be a separation of church and state. That is an invented characterization advanced by secular interest groups based on a false premise.  

Context is always key in discussing constitutional law. Many without context have attempted to manipulate the words: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, to mean that religion and government can’t intersect. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The context for the language used comes with the understanding of our country’s founding. The United States was founded out of a successful revolution against the British Crown. A country with an established state religion. The Church of England. The establishment clause clearly states that there shouldn’t be an established state religion, or the official religion of the United States, a la The Church of England. That is so that we may all have the freedom to practice our faith, or not to, as we see fit as opposed to government imposing a belief system on us. It most certainly didn’t exclude religion from holding influence in government.  

One needs to look no further than our country’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, to see how important faith was to the founders, and the role that it played in the shaping of the nation. There are four references to God with the Declaration.  

  1. The first reference to God is within the first sentence: ...to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
  2. The second reference is one that’s much more widely known: 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.  
  3. The third reference is stated as: ...with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.  
  4. The fourth reference is also one that is one that’s generally widely known and cited: ...we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. 

This country was founded on the principle that our rights are God given as opposed to government given. That’s what the words of the Declaration of Independence stated in so many words. It’s what historically has made the United States different than the rest of the world. It’s also what led to this country’s loose group of colonies growing into the world’s leading superpower within 150 years. Not only is there no such thing as a separation of church and state, this “state”, this union, was quite literally founded with divine Providence – according to the founders themselves. This is also why, among many other functions of government, In God We Trust is on our currency. It’s why there’s an annual National Prayer Breakfast. It’s why government meetings and functions begin with an invocation. There is no such thing as a separation of church and state in the United States. It’s a popularized false premise. What there is, is mandated religious neutrality from a point of governance so that you’re free to worship, or to not worship as you see fit.  

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