The Establishment Clause Jefferson Vs The Religious — страница 2

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it was self-evident, as I have stated, that no established church could frame the government. The questions of where and with what language the most constitutionally sound barrier could be erected without denying first amendment rights were the most perplexing. The answer is the simply elegant words of the Establishment clause, purposefully imprecise allowing “wiggle room” for the disingenuous to claim essential first amendment rights, but whose plans would become evident to the vigilant, ultimately denying the infiltrators the fruit of their plans. In contrast, the narrow interpretation of the establishment clause by religious extremists may indicate indifference, ignorance, or malevolence to this wisdom. Such wisdom is arguably the consequence of centuries of public policy

experiment and experience distilled by brilliant, libertarian minds. If we truly value liberty and freedom, we would be wise to grasp Jefferson’s opinion in its fullness. Their constricted establishment interpretation puts all, they included, at risk. Consider a natural phenomenon as an illustration of the danger. An estuary is functionally an interface between fresh and salt water where the two sources or bodies never truly merge; they cannot, for one or the other would cease to exist, destroying the system. This establishes a natural and essential separation, highlighted by a “grey area”. For argument sake, assume them proportionate; again, the “direction” of an intrusion would prove inconsequential, the result being the same: systemic collapse; so it is with

government and religion. Maneuvering in this “grey area” depends largely on the integrity of those involved. Will they check their motivation, understand their constitutional burden, and desist from intrusive action voluntarily? This is a proverbial “slippery slope”. “We have enough votes to run this country…and when the people say, we have had enough, we are going to take over” * Pat Robertson, addressing the Christian Coalition Since it is understood that to establish or engraft clearly requires political power, presence in the machine of government, Pat Robertson founded the Christian Coalition, which is supported in part by his vast media empire with legal advice and protection provided by his ACLJ affiliate. His 1988 presidential campaign was designed to

establish a national political base intent on giving him, the Christian Coalition, and supporters, a stronghold in the Republican Party. Their presence first skewed the Party, then the Congress, toward their religious agenda as planned. This is a successful attempt to “engraft themselves in the machine of government” for the admitted purpose of “breaking the wall of separation of church and state”, to ultimately declare America a “Christian Nation”. These are their very words, not mine, which are rarely if ever publicly uttered, but rather used by them, their acolytes, and by sympathetic congregations in church literature, seminars, tapes, presentations, rally’s and occasionally their political literature. A favorite Christian Coalition retort, “nowhere in the

constitution are the words separation of church and state”, is a dishonest device requiring willful ignorance of the history and case law on this subject, and very selective use of constitutional constructionism. They are correct; the words are not present. But they are fully cognizant that the Constitution’s deliberate design included ambiguous concepts, requiring interpretation, extrapolation, and clarification, accomplished primarily through the political process and ultimately, finally, through judicial interpretation and court decisions. John Marshall, arguably the greatest Supreme Court Justice, laid the foundation of judicial review for settling this kind of nettlesome issue, instituting a final arbiter. This process finally gave needed constitutional validity, context

and understanding to both the “offensive” Jeffersonian phrase and the very words of the Establishment clause, thus guaranteeing religious liberty and appropriate constitutional boundaries to all. “Acknowledge” is another expression the Religious Right is fond of using when discussing how the government should approach this issue. One meaning of the term “acknowledge” is “to declare a fact in order to give it legal validity. Here subtly inferring a right to publicly declare a religion “under God” by government officials. These are modern examples of the duplicitous, encroaching behaviors Jefferson warned of and fought against — the very reason for the words “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” But as earlier stated, the