Friday, December 19, 2008

More from the Founders on Religion and Government

In today's common (mis)understanding of the First Amendment, we leave little room for support or recognition of religion at any level of government. But do we understand the intent of the First Amendment better that the people who wrote and administered it? Here is an opinion from Eugene W. Hickok:

"It would seem difficult to argue that the First Congress, which proposed the religion clauses of the First Amendment and which by reenacting the Norwest Ordinance extended religious freedom to the territories, acted unconstitutionally by promoting religion, morality, and knowledge in public education and setting aside land 'for the purpose of religion.'
Most significantly, Madison was a member of the committees that in fact set aside lands for purposes of religion... Given the actions of the First Congress as well as those of Madison, there must be an extremely strong presumption that those practices of Congress which directly promoted religion were not unconstitutional."

Learn more from this book:
The Bill of Rights (Original Meaning and Current Understanding), by Eugene W. Hickok, Center for Judicial Studies (U.S.), page 49-50.

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