In my last article with Townhall, I wrote about the misuse of the phrase, “separation of church and state.” The origin of that phrase’s misuse begins with a horribly decided Supreme Court case in 1947.
In Everson vs. Board of Education, FDR appointee Hugo Black, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, reinterpreted the meaning of the First Amendment of the Constitution. He took completely out of context a phrase used by President Thomas Jefferson, “separation of church and state,” found in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. Justice Black limited the religious liberty of all Americans by basing his decision on Jefferson’s letter.
Yet, Jefferson’s letter is not Constitutional law. Jefferson was not even in the USA at the time the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. Jefferson’s phrase, “separation of church and state” is not even found in the Constitution. That did not matter to Justice Black and his other FDR appointed colleagues. They used Jefferson’s letter to justify stifling the free expression of religion in public.
In 1984, the Supreme Court clarified what Jefferson meant in his letter. In Lynch vs. Donnelly the court said that the phrase, “separation of church and state,” is nothing more than the opinion of Thomas Jefferson. They called Jefferson’s use of that phrase a “euphemism,” not Constitutional law.
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