Thomas Jefferson is generally hailed as the chief of separation. But proof that Jefferson was not trying to rid government of religious (specifically Christian) influence comes from the fact that he endorsed using government buildings for church meetings; signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, which allotted federal money to support the building of a Catholic church and to pay the salaries of the church's priests; and repeatedly renewed legislation that gave land to the United Brethren to help their missionary activities among the Indians.
Some might be completely surprised to discover that just two days after Jefferson wrote his famous letter citing the "wall of separation between church and state," he attended church in the place where he always had as president, the U.S. Capitol. The very seat of our nation's government was used for sacred purposes. The Library of Congress' website notes, "It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church."
Do they sound like individuals who were trying to create an impenetrable wall of separation between church and state? Do they sound like those who oppose a street sign with the word "heaven" on it or the Pledge of Allegiance with the words "under God"?
If all that the American Civil Liberties Union said about the First Amendment were true, Jefferson would flunk the group's religion/state separation test. Liberal groups such as the ACLU don't want Americans to know that for the founders, Judeo-Christian beliefs and practices and government administration and policy were not separated at all. Denominational tests for public office were prohibited, but the idea that Judeo-Christian ideas and practices had to be kept separate from government would have struck the founders as ridiculous because the very basis for their ideas was the fact that there were rights endowed upon all of us by our Creator.
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