Talking Points (Church/State)

  • The Founding Fathers intended the First Amendment's Establishment Clause to protect religious freedom in America.
  • The Founding Fathers did not intend to establish a wall of separation between church and state.
    • The phrase "wall of separation between church and state" was not even used by the authors of the First Amendment. Instead, the term was used in 1802 by Thomas Jefferson when he argued, in a private letter, that the federal government should not, under the First Amendment, encroach upon religious freedom.
    • The Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment to prohibit the establishment of a national religion or denomination, not to prohibit public religious expression.
    • Both Washington and Jefferson recommended that government funds be used to support ministries to American Indian tribes, a clear indication that these Founding Fathers recognized no "separation of church and state."
    • A few Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, have recognized that the Court wrongly applied Jefferson's metaphor to the Establishment Clause and unconstitutionally decided that government and religion should remain separate.
  • The Founding Fathers clearly intended a society of fervent faith, freely encouraged by government for the benefit of all. They firmly asserted that religion was a general and public concern, the very key to liberty's survival and America's prosperity.
  • The federal courts have overstepped the constitutional bounds of judicial power by applying the unconstitutional separation of church and state mantra to religious cases.
    • The Supreme Court extended the First Amendment's religious clauses to state governments as well as Congress, thus increasing the federal courts' authority beyond the Founder's original specification.
    • Instead of separating government and religious spheres, today's courts are dictating rules of religious expression in America, all under the guise of preventing an "establishment of religion."
    • The separation of church and state has fostered hostility toward, rather than protection of, religious freedom, providing false reason to outlaw Ten Commandment displays, prayer and Bible reading in schools, clergy invocation and other religious acknowledgements of God in the public square.
  • We believe the First Amendment should be applied as the Founding Fathers originally intended: to protect religious liberties. The rich faith-filled heritage of America's public life must be restored.
  • America's courts must be reformed:
    • Activist judges are currently misusing the so-called "wall of separation between church and state" to dictate rules of religious expression and curtail religious freedom in the public square.
    • Strict constructionist judges, who view and apply the First Amendment in its original understanding, must be appointed to federal courts.
    • Courts must abandon unconstitutional use of the separation of church and state doctrine.
    • The Supreme Court's "separation" cases have resulted in the very governmental interference with religion that the First Amendment was designed to prevent.
  1. {{ footnote.fullText }}

Copyright © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.