Skip to main content

Where is Separation of Church & State in the Constitution?

The question on many minds today is...

Where is Separation of Church & State in the Constitution?

Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell asked that question of her opponent during a campaign debate. The audience, comprised of lawyers and law students, audibly gasped before her opponent smugly told her the clause was in the First Amendment.

Except that it’s not.

The media is attempting to use this exchange to show that O’Donnell is not intelligent and does not understand a fundamental clause in the United States Constitution. Rather, we should be seriously concerned about the fact that the lawyers, law students, the Democrat candidate and the media DO NOT understand the First Amendment as written.

Christine O’Donnell was correct to question her opponent’s statement that the clause, “Separation of Church and State” is in the Constitution because it is NOT in the Constitution. It is not even in the Bill of Rights.


In fact, the phrase, “Separation of Church and State” comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut on January 1, 1802. Research at The Library of Congress has concluded that Jefferson wrote this as a political letter to reassure the Baptists that, contrary to the rhetoric of his political opponents, he was a friend of religion. This was not “a dispassionate theoretical pronouncement on the relations between government and religion.”

Jefferson’s line from this now infamous letter has been incorrectly attributed to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for decades. The phrase “Separation of Church and State” came to be included in our discussion of the First Amendment when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black used it in the majority opinion of Everson vs. Board of Education in 1947.

By co-opting the line from Jefferson’s letter, the Supreme Court suggested that he meant there should be no religion in government. In fact, the original founders of the U.S. Constitution desired that the new government did not and would not establish any one particular religion as the official religion on the government, in stark contrast with other sovereign nations at the time. As the great majority of our colonists fled Europe in the face of religious persecution, a variety of religious beliefs existed across the thirteen states.

While Delaware Senatorial candidate O’Donnell missed the opportunity to explicitly educate the audience and media on the difference between the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses found in the First Amendment and the phrase, “Separation of Church and State” found in subsequent case law; she has started a national discussion on the issue.

Receive New Blog Posts by Email

* indicates required

Connect on Social

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Popular posts from this blog

Don’t Leave Facebook for Lent – Take it Over!

  So many Christians leave Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels for their Lenten devotion or fast.  With the purpose of Lent being to rededicate our lives to God and grow in holiness, I understand why so many fast from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more for Lent.  Our social media feeds these days are full of darkness, sadness, and temptation.  They are far from the original purpose of the platforms to bring community together. Pope Benedict said in his message for World Communications Day 2013, “Believers are increasingly aware that, unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important.”  He continued. “Social networks… also reshape the dynamics of communication which builds relationships.”  This is part of the reason why I dedicate my time to sharing the Good News online.  I believe in my call as a Christian to go and make disciples of ALL NATIONS – eve

Prayer to End the School Year

Another school year is coming to an end.  And what a year the 2017-2018 school year was..... The events of the last 9 months have made me not only thankful to see it end but needing to get on my knees to Thank God for many things.  This school year began with Hurricane Harvey hitting our area and ended with the devastating school shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School. In the middle of the crisis around us there were so many beautiful things, events and people that touched and changed our community and family for the better.  Let's just start with the teachers and administrators who have interacted with my kids this year...  A special social studies teacher that made a fast friend out of my geography obsessed daughter, an ELA teacher who slowly won my oldest daughter over with her love of the written word, a soccer trainer who pushed my son harder than he thought he could handle, and then helped him recognize how that hard work paid off.  What about a school nurse who repeated

12 Quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. Teresa of Calcutta made a deep impression on me as a young girl as I watched her on tv and in news. Who doesn't remember the iconic picture of Mother Teresa with Princess Diana splashed across all magazines, newspapers and news shows?  To me, Saints were people who lived a long time ago, but here she was, a saint in the making.  Mother Teresa was a role model of how to become a Saint in our modern world, by giving her life to God through her dedication to the poor. On her feast day, I want to share with you a few of my favorite quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta.   Her words are seemingly simple and straightforward but packed with meaning.  My selection comes out of a new favorite book I picked up called, Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom by Carol Kelly-Gangi.  This little book contains hundreds of quotes from St. Teresa of Calcutta centered around specific themes as well as a summary of her biography and quotes about her from others.  "God does not demand that