I have always said that in order for us to better understand the words and meaning of our founding documents, it is necessary to “be in the heads” of the men who wrote them. Such is true for the “Establishment Clause” of the 1st Amendment. Now I will not put all of you to sleep with my interpretation of Jefferson’s “Wall of separation” letter, which was actually drafted by Madison, nor will I dissect the myriad of legal challenges to the so called “separation” which have arisen over generations. What I will say however, is that if one is a true study of history and desires to be intellectually honest, one must admit to the central place of the church and its influence within the fabric of early American history.
Mind you I am no zealot, nor am I qualified to speak to the problems of religion in our world. I am also certain that any theocratic approach to governance “applied by the hand of man” is dangerous to freedom. But it occurs to me there were some very basic foundational beliefs shared by a majority of folks back in the day which most certainly would have shaped their opinions, complete with every nuance and caveat. Having said this, and accounting for all the whims and contradictions which defined Jefferson’s life and work, I think that when one “Atheist” young person, who is most likely unsure and/or at least unclear on the many changes of opinion she will surely express in her long life, is allowed to rip the cultural and foundational rug from under the common sensibilities of the collective majority, then this can only be part of that slow and steady unraveling of our future I write about almost every day. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/11/federal-court-orders-rhode-island-school-to-remove-prayer/