Church and State

What did our founding fathers believe about the "separation of church and state?" Did they actually use the expression? Where did it begin? What does it mean to people today?

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America's Christian Heritage

"So Help Me God": Inauguration Day 2009

Jan. 20, 2009 - Chuck Colson

The many Christian elements of Inauguration Day are reminders of the country's Christian heritage.

The ceremony is a perfect example of why the separation of church and state is an elite fiction that bears little resemblance to how democracy really works.
Evangelical pastor Rick Warren will offer the invocation. While administering the oath of office, The Chief Justice of the United States will ask Barack Obama to place his hand on the Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his inauguration. The oath will end with the words “so help me God.”
Source: Crosswalk
Breakfast Focuses on Prayer for Obama - CBN
Throngs Fill Mall as Obamas Head to Church - ABC
Step by Step Through the Day - CQ Politics
A Prayer for President Obama - Albert Mohler - Crosswalk

Court challenged to allow Christians right to pray, too

Mar. 12, 2008 - When Rev. Hashmel Turner, a member of the city council in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was asked to pray for the council, he was censured for praying "in Jesus' name." Constitutional experts at The Rutherford Institute are fighting to regain the same right for Christians that is allowed to followers of other religions.
A court hearing is coming in which the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will be asked to restore to Christians the rights that political correctness in the United States today grants other religions, including the right to pray to their God.
Source: WorldNetDaily

Atheists Assail Bill Recognizing America's Religious History

Feb. 1, 2008 - House Resolution 888 acknowledges "rich spiritual and religious history."
It calls religious principles and foundations "critical underpinnings" of America's institutions, condemns attempts to remove religion from U.S. history, and designates the first week in May as "American Religious History Week."
Prominent American athiests are opposed to the bill because they say there are 25 million Americans who do not believe in the Christian faith.
Text of HR 888 - A five-page document filled with historical facts and quotations about America's Christian heritage!

House Approves Act Protecting Religious Expression

Sept. 29, 2006 - The House of Representatives has passed a bill that will make it easier for defenders of public displays of religious history to go forward with their cases without fear of "crippling judgments" for attorney's fees.
The Public Expressions of Religion Act (PERA) (H.R. 2679) would deny the awarding of attorney's fees or monetary damages to a party that wins an Establishment Clause court case -- that is, one based on the so-called "separation of church and state."
Source: Crosswalk

'In God We Trust' to come off coins?

Nov. 14, 2005 - Michael Newdow plans to file a suit to try to remove "In God We Trust" from U.S. coins.
"The key principle is that we're supposed to treat everybody equally especially in terms of religious belief," Newdow told KWTV in Oklahoma City. "Clearly it's not treating atheists equal with people who believe in God when you say 'In God We Trust' or we are a 'nation under God.'"
Last year a California District Court agreed with Newdow that "Under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegience, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision. Their reason was not the actual question of whether or not the phrase is unconstitutional, but that Newdow did not have legal standing to represent his daughter, who is under sole custody of her mother. In September of this year Newdow and a group of parents filed a similar case and the Federal Judge agreed that "Under God" is unconstitutional.
Nov. 22, 2005 - Atheist Sues to Remove 'In God We Trust' From Currency - Crosswalk

Supreme Court spanked for confusion

June 28, 2005 - The Supreme Court handed down two decisions yesterday that appear to be contradictory to some analysts. In one decision two Kentucky courthouses were not allowed to have displays of the Ten Commandments, presumably because the motive behind placing them there was to promote religion. But in Texas, a display of the Ten Commandments was allowed because its purpose was to show a historical aspect of the nation's legal system.
Evangelical Christian activist D. James Kennedy -- noting the high court presides under a display of Moses and the Ten Commandments -- said the decisions are a "consequence of the court's abandonment of the plain text of the Constitution."
Commandments Rulings Clarify Little, Say Pro-Family Groups - Crosswalk
Weblog: Supreme Court Muddles Ten Commandments Debate - Christianity Today
"Living Document" Tortured -- To Death - Omega Letter

Appeals court rules ‘In God We Trust’ constitutional

May 17, 2005 - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is legal to put the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on a new government building in Lexington, N.C. They said that it does not violate the First Amendment prohibition on government establishment of religion.
The Lemon test, which was outlined in the Supreme Court’s 1971 Lemon v. Kurtzman decision, says government does not establish religion if its action has a secular purpose, does not promote or inhibit religion and does not entangle government excessively with religion.
Source:BP News

Appeals Court Upholds Ten Commandments in Case Identical to Supreme Court Case

Mar. 30, 2005 - Last week th Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the display of the Ten Commandments in a government building in Elkhart, Indiana was legal.
The display inside the Elkhart County Administration Building is identical to the one pending in the U.S. Supreme Court ... nine historical documents and symbols, including the Ten Commandments, flanked by the U.S. flag and the Indiana flag.
In its ruling, the court said, "The Establishment Clause is not violated when government teaches about the historical role of religion."

Washington, D.C.: Remembering our Christian Heritage

July 2, 2004 - Here are just a few of the numerous references to God and quotations from the Bible:
Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol - Four paintings: two prayer meetings, a Bible study and a baptism
References to God at the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Archives, Senate and House office buildings, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Library of Congress
Library of Congress - a bronze statue of Moses holding The Ten Commandments, plus other Biblical paintings and quotations, such as:"The heavens declare the glory of God."
The National Archives - Bronze medallion with The Ten Commandments on it
Senate and House office buildings - plaque that says "In God we trust"
U.S. Supreme Court - The Ten Commandments above the judge's courtroom bench

Roy Moore plans bill to curb federal courts

Nov. 17, 2003 - Roy Moore will conduct a nation-wide speaking tour to propose federal legislation to reassert the power that Congress already has to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts. He said:
...Federal courts had no jurisdiction over the acknowledgment of God by the individual states... In recent years, federal judges have usurped state power with regard to the acknowledgment of God.

Alabama ousts Justice Moore

Nov. 14, 2003 - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office by a unanimous decision of the state's nine-member Court of the Judiciary, for failing to obey a federal court judge's order to remove a 10-Commandments monument from the courthouse. Judge Moore said,
"It's about whether or not we can acknowledge God as the source of our law and our liberty," he said. "That's all I've done. I've been found guilty."
He also said he would make an announcement next week that "could alter the course of this country."

High Court Won't Hear 10 Commandments Case

Nov. 3, 2003 - The Supreme Court rejected Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal to keep the monument with the Ten Commandments in the state courthouse. He has been suspended as chief justice for not removing the monument, and goes on trial on Nov. 12 on face judicial ethics charges for his actions.
The Supreme Court's action is not a ruling on the thorny question of whether the Ten Commandments may be displayed in government buildings or in the public square. It merely reflects the high court's unwillingness to hear the appeal.
The Future of the Ten Commandments War - Interview with Jay Sekulow - CBN (Story no longer on line)

Secular humanists rock foundations of Christian nation

Sept. 1, 2003 - Phyllis Schafly lists efforts by anti-Christian forces to destroy the mention of God outside of churches. She suggests that Congress take control of the situation to limit the kind of wrong decisions that some judges are making.
Source:TownHall (Story no longer on line)

Two Tablets May Renew A High Court Headache

Aug. 31, 2003 - Twenty or more court challenges are in various stages of decision-making, and are producing differing opinions about the legality of posting the Ten Commandments in public places. These cases are causing a growing clamor for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a definitive statement about where and how the tablets can be displayed.

Source:Washington Post

The myth of church-state separation

Aug. 30, 2003 - David Limbaugh explains that the expression "separation of church and state" is not found in the Constitution, but in a letter from Thomas Jefferson which has been misunderstood in our generation. And the so-called "Establishment Clause" of the First Ammendment does not require separation either.
The Framers meant that Congress couldn't establish a national church. They did not intend to forbid every little activity on government property or partially funded by the government.
Defining the 'Wall of Separation' - Crosswalk

Dobson, Keyes to join Moore rally

Aug. 28, 2003 - A rally to "Restore The Foundations" will be held in Montgomery today to show support for Judge Roy Moore's position on the Ten Commandments monument. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family will be a speaker, and Alan Keyes will also support the rally. Keyes was a former U.N. Ambassador and presidential candidate.

Movers Prepare to Haul Ten Commandments Away

Aug. 27, 2003 - A moving company is moving the Ten Commandments Monument from the Rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building to an undisclosed place in the building.
Protest organizers asked the crowd outside not to rush the building or do anything else except pray.
Source:FOX (Story no longer on line)
Ten Commandments monument moved - CNN
The new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll found 77 percent of the 1,009 Americans interviewed earlier this week disapproved of U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson's order to remove the monument.

Hearing Set for Ten Commandments Suit

Aug. 26, 2003 - Supporters of Judge Roy Moore's 10 Commandments monument have obtained a hearing, which will be held this Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Mobile on behalf of a Christian radio talk show host and a pastor. It says a forced removal would violate the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.
Source:Yahoo (Story no longer on line)

Push Has Come To Shove

Aug. 26, 2003 - This cover article from World Magazine's Aug. 30 issue explains that the current crisis over whether or not the 2.5-ton Ten Commandments display must be removed from the Alabama Judicial Building, is just the beginning of a serious and much-needed debate about the place of such displays from public places. It is obvious that earlier legislators and justices had no problem with them, since they can be found all over Washington D.C. and state capitals. Now Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has restarted a vital national debate on the subject, and there is sure to be much said on all sides of the matter before it is settled, probably by the Supreme Court.
Source:World Magazine (Story no longer on line)
In God I Trust

Aug. 25, 2003 - Judge Roy Moore explains why he could not honor a federal judge's order to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. He said:
Federal Judge Myron Thompson, who ordered the monument's removal, and I are in perfect agreement on the fact that the issue in this case is: "Can the state acknowledge God?"
He then explains that the Alabama state constitution explicitly requires its citizens to invoke "the favor and guidance of Almighty God" as the basis for their laws and justice system.
Source:Wall Street Journal (Story no longer on line)

Justice Moore suspended

Aug. 23, 2003 - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended yesterday by a judicial ethics panel for refusing to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building rotunda. He has 30 days to respond, but is expected to give his response early next week.
Meanwhile, Moore's supporters said they were willing to endure the heat and additional arrests to keep the monument inside, according to the Mobile Register. Twenty-two people were arrested Wednesday afternoon.
Source:WorldNetDaily (Story no longer on line)

Ten Commandments Case Puts Evangelicals on Opposite Sides

Aug. 26, 2003 - Evangelicals have broad agreement that the Ten Commandments should be allowed in public buildings, but there is a difference of opinion about whether or not to obey the federal court order to remove the one in the Alabama Judicial Building.
Speaking on his daily Focus on the Family radio program, Dobson said he supports Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and "strongly" disagrees with evangelicals who have criticized Moore's legal strateg
Pat Robertson and some other evangelical leaders think it is a better strategy to follow the court order, but work to reform the system through elections.
Source: Crosswalk
Dobson Urges Support of 'Ten Commandments Justice' - Focus on the Family (Story no longer online)
Legal Scholar Says Founding Fathers Back Justice Moore on Ten Commandments - News Max

Appeals Court Stays Enforcement of Its Pledge Ruling
Mar. 5, 2003 - The Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco has put a hold on the order that would stop schools from reciting the pledge of allegience.
The stay gives the school district 90 days to ask the Supreme Court to review the appeals court's ruling. Elk Grove Superintendent Dave Gordon said the district will ask the court to hear the case by the end of April.
School District to Appeal Calif. Pledge Ruling to Supreme Court - Fox

Pledging Allegiance to the US Flag to be illegal next week
Mar. 1, 2003 - The 9th Circuit Court has decided not to reconsider its decision that the words "under God" in the pledge of allegience are unconstitutional. Inless the apellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court issue a stay of this decision, it will become illegal in nine states to say the pledge in public schools in just a few days. Some 9.6 million students will be affected.
Source:Yahoo- Reuters (Story no longer on line)

America: Repent or Perish!
Feb. 13, 2003 - Commentary by Hal Lindsey, showing the Christian roots of the nation, and a call to repentance for losing our way.
Source:Hal Lindsey Oracle (Story no longer online)

Scalia Discusses Church-State Separation
Jan. 12, 2003 - According to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the courts are going too far. He criticized the California decision that bars students from saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase "one nation under God," and says the constitutional wall between church and state has been misinterpreted both by the Supreme Court and lower courts. (Story no longer online)

Pledge case to be reheard
July 9, 2002 - Athiest Michael Newdow claimed that he did not want his 8-year-old daughter to have to say the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, but the daughter does believe in God. Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif. contends Newdow's argument is fraudulent.
According to Smith, the second-grader and her mother, Sandra Banning, not only attend Calvary Chapel at Laguna Creek in their home town of Elk Grove, Calif., but Banning teaches Sunday School there.
Another pastor, Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, is leading protests in front of the homes of the two judges who said the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional. One of the judges, Stephen Reinhardt, is married to the president of the ACLU in Southern Calif.
The decision is on hold, pending a review by the entire 9th Circuit Court, and is expected to be overturned.

America's history deficit
July 6, 2002 - Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, headed the National Endowment for the Humanities for seven years, has a Ph.D., and has recently written America: A Patriotic Primer for children. In an interview, she commented on the fact that the "G" page was about God. Our founding fathers were against the establishment of a government-sponsored religion, but they were not trying to eliminate public belief and statements about God.
... they of course talked about our God-given rights, and they talked about how they saw themselves as protected by Providence as they took the uncertain journey toward independence.

Anti-Pledge Judge Blocks His Own Ruling
June 28, 2002 - Circuit Judge Alfred T. Goodwin put his own ruling about the Pledge of Allegiance on hold. The reason was not given. Meanwhile, Attorney General John Ashcroft said that the Justice Department will request a full hearing by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals about the matter.
"The Justice Department will defend the ability of our nation's children to pledge allegiance to the American flag, by requesting a hearing en banc by the full 9th Circuit."

Pledge of Allegiance Ruled Unconstitutional
June 26, 2002 - The nation is stunned by a 2-1 decision by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, overturning the 1954 act of Congress that inserted the phrase "under God" after the phrase "one nation" in the Pledge of Allegiance. President Bush called the ruling "ridiculous." Early results from a Fox online poll show that 89% of respondents think it was a bad decision.
The ruling will not take effect for several months, to allow further appeals. The government can ask the court to reconsider its ruling, or it can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn it.
The official ruling - PDF file
Note: This action shows a woeful ignorance of the true spirit and intent of our founding fathers, and of numerous court rulings through the years affirming our Christian heritage. (Story no longer on line)
Senate Condemns Ruling - A swift 99-0 vote by the U.S. Senate condemned the court's decision, while about 100 members of the House of Representatives went outside to publically pledge their allegience "under God." They then broke into a chorus of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."
The Pledge Ruling - Joseph Farah - It's time for parents to take charge of their childrens' education
Bush: I Want Judges Who Know Our Rights Come From God

Thomas Jefferson: Deist or Christian?
June 19, 2002 - Dr. D. James Kennedy explodes the myth that Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was a Deist instead of a Christian. While it is true that he may not have been a genuine Christian, since he evidently did not believe in the Deity of Christ, he was an active church member and supporter (Anglican Church), and did many things favorable to Christianity in government, which, if done today, would make him "the ACLU's greatest nightmare."

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Church and State Links

The Center For Reclaiming America
WallBuilders - David Barton
Dean's America's Christian Heritage Page
Peter Marshall Ministries - Author: "The Light and The \Glory"
America's God and Country - Encyclopedia of quotations
History of "In God We Trust" - U.S. Treasury

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Last Updated: 7/11/13
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