27 July 2013

Two Purposes of the First Amendment

When the First Amendment was passed it only had two purposes.  The first purpose was that there would be no established, national church for the united thirteen states.  To say it another way: there would be no “Church of the United States.”  James Madison (1751-1836) clearly articulated this concept of separation when explaining the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty.  He said that the First Amendment to the Constitution was prompted because “the people feared one sect might obtain a preeminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform.”

Nevertheless, a number of the individual states had state churches, and even that was not considered in conflict with the First Amendment.  “At the outbreak of the American Revolution, nine of the thirteen colonies had conferred special benefits upon one church to the exclusion of others.” “In all but one of the thirteen states, the states taxed the people to support the preaching of the gospel and to build churches.” "it was not until 1798 that the Virginia legislature repealed all its laws supporting churches.” "In Massachusetts the Massachusetts Constitution was not amended until 1853 to eliminate the tax-supported church provosions.”

The second purpose of the First Amendment was the very opposite from what is being made of it today.  It states expressly that government should not impede or interfere with the free practice of religion.

Those were the two purposes of the First Amendment as it was written.

As Justice Douglas wrote for the majority of the Supreme Court in the United States v. Ballard case in 1944: "The First Amendment has a dual aspect.  It not only 'forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship' but also 'safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion.'"

Today the separation of church and state in America is used to silence the church.  When Christians speak out on issues, the hue and cry from the humanist state and media is that Christians, and all religions, are prohibited from speaking since there is a separation of church and state.  The way the concept is used today is totally reversed from the original intent. 

Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto

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