Letters to the Editor

Separation of church and state misinterpreted

Probably one of the most famous and controversial sayings concerning religion and government is the supposed “separation of church and state” clause in the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights. However, if you look with any attention at the actual writing and words of the First Amendment concerning government and religion, it is very clear that such a meaning was never intended.

Here is part of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, it says that Congress won’t establish or restrict the practice of any religion.

Although the Founding Fathers obviously decided to reject an official state religion, they didn’t establish a separation of church and state, as many now presume. Unfortunately, however, this key part of the Bill of Rights has been grossly misinterpreted, and the meaning has been construed to always be assumed as a separation of church and state. On the contrary, the founders of our nation wanted to give its citizens every freedom of religion, although without instituting a state religion.

Today in our public schools, however, there have been laws instituted against the “free exercise” of religion and an outright “establishment of religion.” For example, even private, silent prayer has been unfairly abolished from the public school systems by the Supreme Court because it was considered a cross of the supposed separation of church and state. Teachers are no longer allowed to submit even slightly religious concepts into the science classroom, such as intelligent design, for fear of introducing a religion into the public schools.

Does explaining different perspectives on Earth’s beginnings even border with the “establishment of religion?” Why, then, has it been excluded?

When will the people truly investigate the real facts about the Constitution and decide for themselves if our schools are acting wrongly?

LINCOLN LARSEN

Federal Way

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