The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Monday, March 13, 2006

All are Welcome to Participate

The front page “Resolution” story (Globe, March 8), exposes some area politicians to the need for repetition in regard to religion. I love George Washington, the “Father of our Country,” but he was not a communicant of any Christian church. He was a Freemason and a deist. If any readers want to read a good book, read “George Washington and Religion” by Paul F. Boller.

As for repetition, the Globe has been kind enough to allow me to print the following statement from James Madison several times, “Father of the Constitution”:

“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.” (”Detached Memoranda,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3:555).

Readers can easily read Madison’s words on the Internet simply by Google searching “Detached Memoranda.” By the way, Madison attended but was not a communing member of any Christian church, either. Madison, too, was a deist. Madison’s wife, Dolly, did join the Episcopal Church several years after he died.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and embodies the principles upon which the government of the United States is founded. The 1787 founding fathers commanded, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” (Art. 6., Sec. 3.)

The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution. It is a “religious” test that shall not be required, and it is “religion” which shall not be established by law. In 1788, the people of America approved those words. Therefore, about what America really is: A nation wherein citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate fully in all of America’s social and political functions. That is the message to which America’s politicians should be resolved.

Gene Garman
Pittsburg, KS


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