The Daily Gamecock

Separation of church, state abused

Atheists, others unaware of founders' true intent 

The Christmas season is a time to be with family and celebrate all the blessings in life. However, this season always seems to bring along with it stories of atheists upset over different facets of Christmas traditions. Not all atheists act in this manner, rather most atheists respect the season and its Christian roots. The problem is that the few atheists who do speak out unfortunately define the group as a whole. Each year, these radicals try to remove a little bit more of Christ from Christmas by demanding an ever-widening separation of church and state.

An illustration of this occurred in Rhode Island where Gov. Lincoln Chafee decided calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree was offensive. In Wisconsin, the Freedom from Religion Foundation put up a nativity scene that mocks the original nativity scene. The group’s nativity scene removes Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Wise Men, and replaces them with different historical figures including Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein. 

Atheists always say there needs to be a separation of church and state. But look at the origins of that statement, and what the Founding Fathers truly meant. The phrase “separation of church and state” comes from a famous letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association. Contrary to what many believe, Jefferson’s message in this letter was not that government workers could never support religious activities or that government policies could never support religion. It’s true meaning is that the government would not punish people for holding different beliefs. However, atheists and other groups have hijacked this phrase and championed it as the proof that the founders wanted faith nowhere in the public square. 

The founders however did believe that  religion was an important part of the founding of this country. Just look at what George Washington said in his first inaugural address: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules ... which Heaven itself has ordained.” 

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” During the same time period, Alexis de Tocqueville, a French observor of America commented on the importance of religion to America. “It is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other,” de Tocqueville said.  

Clearly, our founders and others America saw the importance of religion in the public square, and realized it was the only way a people could remain free. So the next time you see a story of an atheist trying to remove God from every public space because it offends them, just realize this: They’re trying to utilize the power of the government to infringe on the freedom of your worship and expression in a manner directly contradictory to the beliefs of our founders. 



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