It was good to read my old home town newspaper, The New London Day, which represents Southeastern Connecticut. It was nostalgic. That’s where I spent the first 40 years of my life. “How the hell old am I?” you ask. That is a question for the ages, my ages in particular.
The letter that caught my eye was written by a person who seems to be a Sarah Palin supporter. Although Palin supporters were a large and strong group at one point in our history, they, like the polar bear, are close to being placed on the endangered species list.
The issue that the writer uses to defend the Alaska Governor is the premise that “Creationism belongs in the nation’s classrooms”.
The writer uses several arguments.
For example, he states that Christianity was the principle upon which this country was “solidly founded” and that “the separation of church and state is not a core American principle”.
Nowhere in The Constitution which most agree is the law of the land is “God”, “Jesus”, “The Bible” or any other reference to a specific religion mentioned. Religion is referenced twice in the constitution.
The First Amendment to The Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”
Religion is also referenced in Article VI. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
If those who wrote and approved The Constitution wanted The United States to be a Christian theocracy, it would seem that they would have been certain to include that fact in the law of the land. Alas, they did not and for good reason.
It’s often said that the first settlers of this land came here to escape religious persecution and intolerance. This is true. However, as history shows, they came here to escape England’s intolerance of their religion.
For example, the Calvinist Protestants who settled in New England immediately took their cue from the intolerant Church of England, from whom they had just escaped, and became the intolerant church of New England. The Puritans, a name by which they came to be known, would not allow Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Unitarians, Methodists, Roman Catholics or Jews on their territory. When members of other religious sects wandered where, according to the Puritans, they did not belong, The Puritans would administer horrific punishment up to and including burning at the stake. New England would founded as an intolerant theocratic region.
Likewise, Virginia was founded as an exclusive Anglican territory. This may be difficult to believe. It’s difficult for me to believe, but it’s true. Virginians also punished those who did not swear allegiance to The Church of England.
So two areas in “The New World”, populated by people who were escaping the results of what happens when religion and state are equal partners in the leadership of people, created communities in which the leadership was based upon theocratic principles.
There is an obvious irony, but it’s not the only irony. The people who populated these two areas knew exactly what happens when state and church join to lead a nation. They were not only victims of England’s intolerance, but they knew of the history of European conflicts based upon religious differences.
The Inquisition, The Reformation and The Bloody Statute were only three examples from which the settlers should have learned, but, obviously, did not.
Luckily, the signers and approvers of The Constitution had learned and made certain that no religion would influence the governing of the new nation.