The Paw Print
If anything I would encourage you to continue your religious endeavors in the hopes that continued readings will lead you to forgive me for blaspheming your faith. Faith is between yourself and God, and the First Amendment is merely a mortal law set forth to guide our government. I presume that I did not manage to shake your beliefs on either subject.
Fortunately, besides preventing state established religion, the First Amendment also protects your right to free speech so there will be no need to spare any duct tape. Preferences in music and reading material are none of my concern.
In fact, the “wall of separation between church and state” first appeared in a Supreme Court case in 1878 in Reynolds v. United States.
The court declared “that it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [first] amendment.” The Supreme Court supported the decision in 1947 and 1948, stating, “in the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and state.’”
While Jefferson may have supported a thanksgiving while Governor of Virginia, as President he denounced these events as “British” and “Tory,” relating thanksgivings and fasts to the religious monarchy that Americans had fought so hard to escape. Because of this, many in the Federalist Party labeled Jefferson an atheist, although this was not the case.
Hitler’s actions could be explained away by an intolerance of religion, but I believe that a better explanation would be an intolerance of human diversity. The Third Reich itself was not democratic, an example of what atrocities can happen in a nation that restricts free speech, and otherwise has little place in this debate.
The separation of church and state is a complex issue in that both subjects lend themselves to strong personal feelings. These feelings and the right to express them are paramount to what our nation is and what it will become.