Here's something I've never done before: A guest author.
I found this recent post on a widely popular social networking site, and after reading it, had to share. [And yes, the guest author is my very own husband, Anthony Baros. Nepotism? Yes, but it's my blog, which makes it my prerogative.] Let's see if anyone's listening...
The following posting is in response to a recent article posted on www.christianpost.com titled: $1K Offered to Find "Separation of Church and State."*
Actually, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not found in the constitution and was made popular by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, in a letter to the Danbruy Baptist Association "believing with you that religion is a matter which lies... solely between man and his god, [the people, in the 1st Amendment,] 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." What the 1st Amendment says is "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech..." Separation of church and state as it was intended was to prohibit the national government from establishing and mandating a national religion, like the Church of England, but believed that each person should be free to choose.
A person's moral standards always play a part in lawmaking and the creation of laws. It is not Christianity that enacts these laws, but it is the elected officials of the United States that propose and pass the laws that govern our country. Lawmakers are elected by the people, many, if not most, of whom do vote based upon their personal moral standard.
In recent litigation and law making, there have not been any attempts restrict a person’s freedom to not believe or to make people go to "church." There are no restrictions of freedom for what you believe or choose not to believe. A person will not get ticket, thrown in prison, not allowed to work, have to pay higher taxes, get kicked out of school, etc. because they don't go to church. I would argue that the opposite has taken place and there have been numerous attempts to limit a persons freedom and expression of religion; for example, the debates of the phrase "one nation under God" (Elk Grove v Newdow), decisions about prayer in schools (Santa Fe Independent School District v Doe), ability of Christians clubs to use school facilities with equal access as other groups (Good News Club v Milford Central School).
We are to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Each person has a right to choose. Each person is free to choose what they believe, even if that is not to believe in anything (that is still a belief). Each person has the freedom to choose not to pray or take part in the prayer. Each person can choose not to stand for the pledge or to stand and say the pledge of allegiance. However, in these debates and discussions about issues, we should be informed and knowledgeable about the foundation of our arguments, and not just assume they are correct, like the assumption that the exact phrase "separation of church and state" is in the US Constitution.
*to read the related article, go to: http://www.christianpost.com/article/20101026/1k-offered-to-find-separation-of-church-and-state/