Letter to the Editor: Separation of church and state not a lie



In our country, all people can express their religious beliefs in their own way. The First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution established five freedoms that all Americans have, the freedom of religion being one of those freedoms. However, I am concerned that in today’s political climate there are distortions of that freedom and the use of religion to support political beliefs.

I watched as a young evangelical supporter of the former president was being interviewed and he said something that caught my attention. When the reporter referred to the “separation of church and state,” the young man said, “There is no separation of church and state.” He said this twice and then added, “That is another lie portrayed by the left.”

He spoke like the first was some long-established fact and the second was a new and modern fabrication. In truth, both of his opinions are wrong and false. That phrase is old and is based on the meaning of the First Amendment, which prevents our government from creating or favoring a religion.

The exact phrase, “building a wall of separation between Church and State,” is not found in the Constitution but originated in an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, explaining this amendment to a Baptist organization in Virginia. They wanted to be assured they could worship as they wished, and then that phrase became part of 20th century jurisprudence of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thomas Jefferson was not a leftist. The “separation of church and state” is not a lie. Religious freedom was one of the very first freedoms the founders established in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Darrell Anderson

Battle Ground