By Dr. Ken Matto
If there is one thing which befuddles me and that is the great amount of
Christians which accept the myth of separation of church and state. Many are
stopped in their tracks when confronted by unbelievers with this straw man
argument. It is time for Christians to know the truth and where these
statements have come from. There is no such thing in the Constitution or
Bill of Rights suggesting the separation of church and state. There is,
however, a separation of powers in the government as it is divided into
three separate entities. The Legislative branch, the Judicial Branch and the
By the way, do you know what constitution DOES have the phrase
"separation of church and state"? Why yes, the Soviet Union had this phrase
in their old constitution.
- Separation of Church and State
The 1936 U.S.S.R. Constitution
"ARTICLE 124.- In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience,
the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school
from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious
propaganda is recognized for all citizens."
The 1977 U.S.S.R. Constitution
"Article 52. - Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of
conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion,
and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of
hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited. In the USSR, the
church is separated from the state, and the school from the church."
So as one can plainly see, the idea of separation of church and state
and separation of school and church comes from the old Soviet Union
Constitution. Now where does the idea of separation of church and state
originate here in the United States?
The First Amendment:
"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."
Now many believe that the idea of separation of church and state was
found in the First Amendment. As you can see above that there is absolutely
nothing in the First Amendment which speaks about separation of church and
state. The First Amendment deals specifically with limiting the power of
Congress so that government will not encroach upon religion, not the other
way around. The First Amendment does not separate the church from the state,
it separates the state from the church, a big difference. The First
Amendment does not prohibit an elected official who is a Christian from
calling upon their Christian principles to govern. After all, one can
plainly see what type of government we now have when those who are
non-Christians call upon their humanistic and depraved principles to govern.
Need I say more? So now let us look at where the slew of anti-Christian
lawyers extract that belief from.
In October of 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut
penned a letter to President Jefferson.
The address of the Danbury Baptists Association in the state of
Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801. To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President
of the United States of America.
Among the many million 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 our 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 are 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--that the legitimate power of civil
government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his
neighbors; But, sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our
ancient charter together with the law made coincident therewith, were
adopted as the basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and
such had been our laws and usages, and such still are; 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 acknowledgements 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--should reproach their order magistrate, as a
enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dare not,
assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make laws to govern the kingdom of
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 sentiments
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, till hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the
earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of
philanthropy and good will 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 your arduous task which
providence and the voice of the people have called you to sustain and
support you enjoy administration against all the predetermined opposition of
those who wish to raise 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, Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins,
Stephen S. Nelson
This letter was written with concern about the possibility of religious
persecution by the government. The Danbury Baptists wanted clarification on
the government’s view on religious liberty. With that in mind, President
Jefferson responded with a letter of assurance in response to their
The following letter is taken from the Library of Congress and was
written by President Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802 in response to the
letter written by the Danbury Baptists.
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a
committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments 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, & 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 & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his
worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & 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 & 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 & blessing of the
common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your
religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802.
As you can plainly read in Jefferson’s response, he referred back to the
First Amendment in connection with the phrase “thus building a wall of
separation between Church & State.” As we have previously read, what
President Jefferson was doing, he was reiterating the contents of the First
Amendment and was assuring the Danbury Baptists that the government, by law,
was not permitted to infringe upon the establishment of the freedom of
So there it is, there is no such thing in the Constitution, Amendments,
or Bill of Rights which speaks of a separation of church and state. So then
how did it slip into usage by all liberal and left wing lawyers? It was
because of a decision handed down by Justice Hugo Black in 1947. He was a
very liberal and left wing Judge.
The Court has repeatedly held that "separation of church and state" is
the constitutional cornerstone of religious liberty. In the 1947 case of
Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Hugo Black, in writing for the
majority, stated: "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against
establishment of religion was intended to erect a wall of separation between
church and state." In defining what is meant by the establishment of
religion, Justice Black wrote, "Neither a state nor the Federal Government
can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all
religions, or prefer one religion over another.... No tax in any amount,
large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or
institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt
to teach or practice religion.... The First Amendment has erected a wall of
separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and
impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."
Chief Justice Rehnquist also commented on the idea of separation of
church and state.
….as Rehnquist writes in his dissent in Wallace v. Jaffree, 1985:
It would seem...that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment had
acquired a well-accepted meaning: it forbade establishment of a national
religion, and forbade preference among religious sects or
denominations...The Establishment Clause did not require neutrality between
religion and irreligion nor did it prohibit the federal government from
providing non-discriminatory aid to religion. There is simply no historical
foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the 'wall
of separation' that was constitutionalized in Everson... The 'wall of
separation between church and State' is a metaphor based on bad history, a
metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be
frankly and explicitly abandoned.
Chief Justice Rehnquist saw the separation of church and state argument
as a fallacious and invisible argument since it did not have its root in any
law and he recommended that it should be abandoned. However, that will never
happen as more liberal judges are appointed and continue to uphold a
constitutional amendment that has never existed.