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Separation of church and state

June 14, 2011
David R. Correll
Letter to the Editor of the Westfield Republican:

Congress must keep religion at arms length and honorably carry out their sworn duty to protect the Constitution.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is believed by many to only prohibit the United States Congress from establishing a religion for the United States, when it is actually intended to establish freedom of religion and separate church and state. The reason for the misunderstanding is misinterpretation of the First Amendment to United States Constitution which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Many persons have interpreted the word “establishment” as a verb or action. Using this idea, the clause is interpreted as prohibiting Congress from establishing a religion for the United States, including the free exercise thereof. If this was the intended meaning, why is it necessary to prohibit the free exercise of a religion that Congress is prohibited from establishing? This incongruity leads an intelligent person to look up the meaning of the word “establishment,” and find that it is first a noun or thing. So an establishment of religion is a religious organization, or church of any denomination, of which there are an unnumbered quantity who are free to practice in the United States, as long as they do not impose their will through Congress. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law respecting these churches, established by the people, who are also free from Congressional meddling in their religious practices. Thus, the First Amendment, in clear exacting English, establishes the freedom of religion which also separates church and state.

The framers of our Constitution were learned men who were well aware of the lack of freedom and progress in countries having an enforced state religion, or embedding religious ideas in laws, and wanted our Constitution to separate church and state, thus assuring freedom of religion. However, many religious organizations believe that their god requires them to widen its power through imbedding its ideas in federal laws, to assure that the lives of all citizens will benefit and continue in the hereafter. They mistakenly believe that just influencing congressmen to incorporate their religious beliefs into law is a perfectly legal way to expand their religion while restricting the freedom of others. However, most theologians understand and support the Constitution’s intent to prohibit religious dogma from infiltrating United States Law in order to assure religious freedom.

Unfortunately, religious dogma already infiltrates Congress. A leading example is the matter of abortion and the religious belief in the sanctity of the human fetus. This is a religious matter, which should be resolved by families and their medical and religious advisors free from unconstitutional Congressional meddling. Followers of an Old Testament angry God who does not give women’s rights priority over fetuses must leave sectarian beliefs outside before entering the secular halls of Congress to avoid dishonoring their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

David R. Correll,



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