Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | March 16, 2015

Favorite Tips – 2015 – Post #2 – Separation of Church and State

Favorite Tips – 2015 – Post #2 – Separation of Church and State

Freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion. The popular term “separation of church and state” is not about removing the church from the state. It refers to the state never dictating to any church what to believe. After all, Henry VIII and Bloody Mary were historically recent for the Founding Fathers.


  1. More recently it seems to mean no mention of religion for any reason…but it should (and I think it does) that no government can make us join a state religion or prevent us from practicing our chosen religion. Public displays…that’s another question. If we have a creche do we have to have a devil worship display? Maybe best to just have nothing. But then in the mid-Atlantic area years ago my children got National Holidays from school, and Jewish holidays as well. Now there are Muslim holidays to be added. Where does that stop?

    • You raise two very practical concerns, Kay. I think we should err on the side of freedom, even for displays that offend. Cheers, Ashley

  2. I thought it meant that the government could not dictate what religion one must be in order to hold office or be a professor at university. Such things in England were restricted to members of the Church of England, and it was that policy the founders were against. I am not an historian and could be mistaken.

    • Hi Aunt Mary, I think the concept varies a bit and goes back even prior to John Locke. With respect to the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, I found the following quote for Thomas Jefferson on Wikipedia. Cheers, Ashley

      “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 and State.”

  3. The Constitution prohibits Congress from establishing any religion or interfering with the free exercise thereof. That’s all it says. And remember, the founding father who established the Constitution were almost unanimously Christian. They certainly weren’t trying to protect any rights for Muslim extremists who want to set up sharia governments or bomb our buildings.

    • Wasn’t there a recent sharia law controversy here in the DFW region, David? Certainly hits close to home. Cheers, Ashley

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