The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion, its exercise, and the freedom of speech.
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.
As Jefferson defined it in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury Connecticut:
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.
Thomas Jefferson was among those who put together our constitution. James Madison kept him up-to-date on the goings on back at home during Thomas’s trip abroad. If anyone knows what something means within the Constitution, it’s Jefferson.
From its inception, the Constitution was under constant barrage by overzealous Christians who felt that the Constitution was not of God. It does not mention God even once. Christians from the beginning felt that this nation should be Christian and have never been happy with how things turned out. They do not realize that it was made purposely secular, purposely neutral, where religion is concerned. The reason it was done this way is simple: A number of the founding fathers had just left England and its oppressive state-sponsored religion. They didn’t want to end up with the same thing they had just left.
What the Religious Right, a loosely connected group of highly conservative Christian Sects, does not understand is that if not for the Separation of Church and State, and the wall of protection it affords, their numbers would not be as great as they are today. The Separation of Church and State has provided the conditions under which Christianity, as well as the huge number of its variations, as well as others, have flourished.
If one large sect of Christianity, or for that matter, of any religion, had become the state’s religion, all other minority religions would have been harassed at best, crushed out of existence at worst.
Why then do they continue? Are they stupid?
To be honest, just as in the population in general, some are stupid, some are ignorant, and some are devious.
If anyone remarks to you that this is supposed to be a Christian Nation and that there is no wall of separation between Church and State, you can be sure they do not have the best intentions in mind. These people mean to force their beliefs on the masses.
Christianity in America is not suppressed in any way, neither are other religions to the extent that they do not interfere with other belief systems. The only reason anyone would want to destroy the Wall of Separation between Church and State is to dominate the country. That is what many Dominionists desire.