Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jefferson as a Resource on the 1st Amendment

Jefferson's metaphor, "separation of church and state," has been used in the past 45 years to justify many of the Supreme Court's decisions limiting religious activity, ignoring the fact that he was speaking to reassure a church that they were protected from the federal government (not the other way around), and ignoring the fact that he and the Constitution use "state" to mean only the federal government, not state or local governments. As one's main authority on the Constitution, Jefferson is suspect. He was not involved in the creation of the Constitution or the First Amendment - he was overseas serving as ambassador to France at the time.

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