The confusion over "Separation of Church and State" is that too many people don't understand the state of the world in the 1700s, why this amendment
was included in the Constitution and what it is intended to do.
In Britain, at that time, a person needed to be a member of the Church of England in order to participate in the country's governance. You had to
sign off on the Church's Thirty Nine Articles
in order to hold civic office, and that meant being a church member in good standing and
affirming all sorts of Christian doctrine, including the divine supremacy of the King. Non-Christians, and Christians of a non-Anglican Church basis,
were excluded and quite often persecuted for it.
Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, not a Christian.
Whether he included this amendment for personal reasons, or because it was the right thing to do, is a matter for debate, but if Jefferson was a
raving Christian, it might not have made it in there. But what was this amendment actually intended to do?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Well, there is a restriction on Congress, stating that they cannot pass a law creating an American version of the Church of England, along with part
two, saying that they cannot pass a law preventing someone from practicing religion the way that they want to.
While the current atmosphere claims that the Establishment Clause proclaims a "freedom FROM religion", that isn't the case -- it was written, and
intended, to be a "freedom OF religion." There is nothing there that says anything about the influence of the church, or the churched, on government,
just the opposite -- government is precluded from influencing the church, and that all goes back to the Church of England (as well as other State
religions and the intertwining between both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and various governments, dating back centuries.)
26-2-2013 by adjensen because: (no reason given)