Letter to the Editor

Founders wanted church-state wall

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

To the editor:In response to David Limbaugh's column concerning First Amendment church-state "separation":

Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Adams had grown up in an 18th century America in which the majority Christian denomination in each colony created a government with the power to marginalize, punish, tax or banish those from a minority Christian denomination and those who simply had other beliefs. To counteract this history of religious oppression, these Founding Fathers devoted their energies to writing a secular U.S. Constitution and First Amendment that together guarantee freedom of religion to every American citizen. This means that for the conscience of each individual to be protected, governments must not prefer, encourage or support one religion over another, nor may governments codify into civil laws the scriptural beliefs and values desired by some religious group.

Jefferson characterized this process as "a wall of separation between church and state," and it is this idea that is confirmed in numerous letters and documents written by each of the above Founding Fathers.

Based on the writings of the Founding Fathers, it is high time for Limbaugh to desist from his erroneous assertion that "activist judges" who cite the doctrine of church-state separation are deciding cases "contrary to the Framers' original intent."

JOHN BIERK, Cape Girardeau