George Washington, the Father of our country, stated in his farewell address, "Do not let anyone claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics." Mahatma Gandhi said, "Those who believe that religion and politics aren't connected don't understand either."
There is, in this country, a common misconception that has pervaded our rapidly declining culture since 1947 when Dr. William James, one of the founding members of the ACLU, and a card-carrying communist, whose stated aim was to subvert democracy through the use of the judicial system, introduced the concept of separation of church and state. He used the philosophy which states that nothing is so absurd that if you don't say it long enough and loud enough, people will begin to believe it.
Such was the case in 1947 when in "Everson vs. the Board of Education," the Supreme Court initiated what has become known today as the Establishment Clause, or the unconstitutional doctrine of separation of church and state.
Before we examine the history of the Thomas Jefferson phrase used to give support to the Establishment Clause, let me explain my statement as to it being unconstitutional.
The First Amendment of the Constitution reads, "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."
I am not a constitutional attorney, but it seems to me that every time the court tells me where I can or cannot place a copy of the Ten Commandments or pray or erect a cross, they have prohibited the free exercise of religion, violating the very Constitution they are sworn to uphold.
The courts get around this obvious violation of my first amendment rights by claiming that the Constitution is a living document, which is a nice way of saying that it can be reinterpreted to fit the prevailing winds of the sitting court. In fact, when the 1947 Court made their proclamation they, for the first time in judicial history, ignored the rule of precedence (187 times to be exact) and crafted a new policy.
The phrase they used to craft this policy (the Establishment Clause) was a phrase taken from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson -- a phrase purposefully and maliciously ripped from its context. The letter was to the Danbury Baptist Association and written Jan. 1, 1802.
Here is what Jefferson wrote, "The first amendment had erected a wall of separation, but that wall is a one directional wall; it makes sure that the government will not run the church but it also makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government."
Let me wrap this series up. Why do I bring these things to your attention? I want you to recall the lesson from history. Hitler's rise to power began with putting a muzzle on the German Church "for the good of the German people."
Pastor Martin Niemoller, who lived through the calamity of those ruinous years wrote, "In Germany, they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
I write these words because, if those in the church don't regain their public voice, it will not be long before freedom in this country dies. The writing is on the wall, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin" (Daniel 5:13-31).
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. He can be heard on the radio on WMVV 90.7 (FM) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday nights. For more information, visit the Gateway Web site at www.gatewaycommunity.org.