Thursday, November 8, 2007

Memphis Housing Authority Bans Worship Service

The article linked here is about a local housing authority banning a group from holding worship services in a building that is funded by HUD (Housing and Urban Development). So one should not be angry at the Memphis Housing Authority, even if you agree with the posts on this blog. They are simply trying to follow HUD constraints.

The real question is, "Why does HUD have that rule?" If they know their history, they also know that the largest church services in the early days of our country (after the First Amendment was written) were held in the nation's capital.

Even Thomas Jefferson, to whom we usually attribute the phrase "Separation of Church and State," apparently did not have such fears. Jefferson was the founder of the University of Virginia. From its inception in 1819, the school was governed, managed, and controlled by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Consider:

  • In order to accommodate and perpetuate the religious beliefs and practices of students at the university, he recommended that students be allowed to meet on the campus to pray, worship, and receive religious instruction, or, if necessary, to meet and pray with their professors.
  • He provided in his regulations for the University of Virginia that the main rotunda be used for religious worship under the regulations allowed to be prescribed by law.
  • He proposed that all University of Virginia students be required to study as a matter of ethics "the proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all relations within morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer."

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