Our religious freedom as Americans is guaranteed in the Constitution's Bill of Rights. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ." Unfortunately, the courts have run roughshod over this guarantee in order to implement their vision of how religion in public life should be conducted. History does not bear out their views.
Shortly after the Constitution was ratified, there were concerns in the country that Congress would establish a national church. The founders who served in the First Congress wanted to make it clear that Congress has no authority to establish a national church. In order to do so, they included the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. That was the founders' sole purpose for placing this provision into our Constitution.
Years after the Bill of Rights were ratified, Thomas Jefferson as a private citizen expressed in a letter his opinion that there is a wall of separation between church and state. When the Bill of Rights were drafted and adopted, he was out of the country, finishing his service as Minister to France. The words "wall of separation between church and state" do not appear anywhere in the Constitution or its amendments.
Nothing indicates the founders in Congress intended for there to be such a wall. In the same year they proposed the Bill of Rights, the founders serving in the First Congress encouraged the teaching of religion and morality in the schools which would be established through land grants under the Northwest Ordinance. They also suggested that President Washington proclaim a national day of public thanksgiving and prayer, "acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God ." The founders' religious practice and views were reflected in other ways in the early federal and state governments which are by far too numerous to mention here.
The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has on its on initiative used the idea of a wall of separation between church and state to trample religious freedom in our country. Citing this phrase, they have prohibited prayer and Bible reading in public schools and essentially removed God from the public square. Religious freedom could further be eroded by hate crimes legislation enacted by Congress in 2009, which makes it a criminal offense to harm someone in the legislation's protected class. The law raises the question of whether pastors who preach biblical admonitions against homosexuality can potentially be prosecuted if congregants within their hearing harm someone the law protects. The healthcare reforms bills Congress is currently considering may require physicians to perform or refer medical procedures which violate their religious beliefs.
America is a Christian nation, contrary to what any president may say. The evidence of our Christian heritage is irrefutable. We need conservative fighters in Congress who will work to restore our religious freedoms and protect them from further assault. We need fighters who will hold the Supreme Court accountable when it clearly does not follow the Constitution.