By Liza Roocroft
Oh Garsh and golly gee, the “castigation” of Brian Jarvis nearly crippled me, but I was still able to “find it,” (the First Amendment) and a few telling excerpts taken from letters written by some of the founders of this country, showing that separation of church and state was intended. I think most Americans, religious or not, would agree said separation is necessary. The following are examples of my point.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The two parts, known as the “establishment clause” and the “free exercise clause,” respectively, form the textual basis for the Supreme Court’s interpretations of the “separation of church and state” doctrine.
Amendment 14 — Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process (more than 2/3) of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Taken from letters by:
“It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the government from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others.”
James Madison, “James Madison on Religious Liberty”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”
— 1803 letter objecting use of government land for churches
“The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes.”
— letter to John Taylor
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
— letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787
“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
— letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT
“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”
All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
Counter to B.J.’s accusations, my intention was not, and is not, to punish anyone. Not even the far, far right pompous types. More than just having expressed my upset, I am hoping to stimulate further thought on the subject for those who are open to expanding their idea of what equality really is, and honestly, the only people truly punished here are those in the gay community.
I will end with a cherished line out of our Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Liza Roocroft is a Ramona resident.