The simple phrase, “separation of church and state,” is often quoted by the anti-faith movement, used in legislative and legal challenges and frequently distorted in terms of its original intent. Though not found anywhere in our Founding Documents, these five words have been misconstrued and misused in a determined effort by secular and atheistic naysayers to convince an entire generation that God, biblical values and prayer should be completely excluded from anything related to government, leadership, business or matters related to life in the public square.
President Thomas Jefferson first coined the phrase in a letter written to the Danbury Baptists. However, contrary to the opinions of rogue demagogues, Jefferson was not seeking to limit the public expression of faith, but was in fact, deeply committed to religious freedom. Library of Congress records reveal the following,
“…on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817), the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration [after writing the letter to the Danbury Baptists], Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example….Throughout his administration, Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.”
Sadly, in many ways, the very government that was established to protect and advocate for our religious freedoms, now too frequently allows the same spirit of intolerance, coercion and legislative bullying tactics that the Church of England was once known for. Can we believe it will require anything less than committed men and women of passion and determination to rise up together and once again make our voices heard within the halls of power? We the people—especially when armed with the truth supported by history’s validation—will always triumph if we stand together.
Over the decades, many of our Presidents and leaders have believed that religion and morality were indispensable supports to a healthy and God-honoring Constitutional Republic. We agree. Therefore, the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation remains resolute in its commitment to restore, revitalize and champion America’s founding spirit and the principles related to faith and Judeo-Christian values in order to secure America’s future and freedom for all. For God and country! The true meaning and spirit of the separation of church and state does not mean a total divorce and disconnection between God and government. Rather, it explicitly limits and deters active interference by the government in dictating a person’s conscience in matters of faith and practice.