Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Congress Shall Make No Law

Ever wonder how it got started?

US celebrates its most misread freedom | "The 220-year-old roots of the 'first freedom'

'Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free...'

So begins the 1786 Virginia Statute Establishing Religious Freedom, the first law of its kind in America. It's sometimes forgotten that in Colonial times, Baptists were flogged and Quakers were executed in Boston, Presbyterians were jailed and Jews were exiled in New York, and Anglicanism was pushed as the state church in Virginia.

Seeing religious freedom as essential as political liberty, Thomas Jefferson wrote the law and James Madison won its passage. Jefferson thought it so significant that he listed it among his three life accomplishments on his epitaph. (The others: writing the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia.)

The Virginia law led to the first 16 words in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, making religious liberty the First Freedom: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'

That double guarantee is usually described as the 'establishment clause,' applying to government, and the 'free exercise clause,' guaranteeing individual and collective rights."
Church is for learning religious concepts and school is for learning concepts that will hopefully help you get through life. They should not be mixed. How would one determine which religion would the "right" one?

Update: I just noticed that Blogger has been removing edits and notes that I made to this article and others. This has been happening a lot lately. Very irritating.

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