The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." The modern concept of a wholly secular government is sometimes credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase "separation of church and state" in this context is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper.
Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of "[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world"— Jefferson wrote, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which 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 & State."
Jefferson's metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Reynolds v. United States (1879) the Court wrote that Jefferson's comments "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment." In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote: "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state."
However, the Court has not always interpreted the constitutional principle as absolute, and the proper extent of separation between government and religion in the U.S. remains an ongoing subject of impassioned debate.Jefferson's opponents said his position was the destruction and the governmental rejection of Christianity, but this was a caricature. In setting up the University of Virginia, Jefferson encouraged all the separate sects to have preachers of their own, though there was a constitutional ban on the State supporting a Professorship of Divinity, arising from his own Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Some have argued that this arrangement was "fully compatible with Jefferson's views on the separation of church and state;" however, others point to Jefferson’s support for a scheme in which students at the University would attend religious worship each morning as evidence that his views were not consistent with strict separation. Still other scholars, such as Mark David Hall, attempt to sidestep the whole issue by arguing that American jurisprudence focuses too narrowly on this one Jeffersonian letter while failing to account for other relevant history
Jefferson's letter entered American jurisprudence in the 1878 Mormon polygamy case Reynolds v. U.S., in which the court cited Jefferson and Madison, seeking a legal definition for the word religion. Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Johnson Field cited Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists to state that "Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order." Considering this, the court ruled that outlawing polygamy was constitutional.
I wonder how many people actually bothered to read the First Amendment before spewing THEIR opinions?
Of course now they feel obligated to defend their tyrannical opinions...
I hope someone learns from this, otherwise it would be a total waste of time.
And BTW, it has NOTHING to do with communists. What are you from the 1950s or something? Good God! How ridiculous and paranoid.
Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church
From the link, this information is taken directly from some of the founding fathers. So, I don't know WTH your problem is with this link. It is no less valid than any of the bull crap you post.
Convinced that religious liberty must, most assuredly, be built into the structural frame of the new [state] government, Jefferson proposed this language [for the new Virginia constitution]: "All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution": freedom for religion, but also freedom from religion. (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 38. Jefferson proposed his language in 1776.)
I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor. (Thomas Jefferson, notes for a speech, c. 1776. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 498.)
Prayer to open public meetings is a long-standing tradition. How long? Since the opening of the first Congress at least.