freedom OF religion or freedom FROM religion? That is the question.

Followers, I’d appreciate your thoughts! This is a small essay I wrote for school!

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (The First Amendment of the Constitution)

            Many modern Americans desire to paraphrase this amendment and claim that this amendment completely separates the church from the state, in order to support their belief that religion should be completely annihilated from society and government. Unfortunately for them, the first amendment states that Congress cannot establish a religion, but it was not written with the intent of pushing the church out the door. This amendment was written by our Founding Fathers with their forefathers in mind—the people such as Pilgrims who crossed the sea and settled at Plymouth in order to escape the oppression of King James, who established his own church of England to the exclusion of those who practiced their own set of Christian beliefs. His establishment of religion infringed on the personal rights of other believers who did not agree exactly with the king’s theology, thus forcing them to flee their homes in England and settle in the new world.

However, the meaning of this amendment has been warped by those who seek to eradicate the Church altogether.

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6 thoughts on “freedom OF religion or freedom FROM religion? That is the question.

  1. Invisible Mikey says:

    First off, the Church of England was established under Henry VIII not James, and the Pilgrims were religious fundamentalists who only went to the New World after first finding Holland too tolerant and liberal. The “establishment of religion” clause didn’t apply to state law at all until 1947 (Everson v. Board of Education). For example, Massachusetts used to be officially “Congregationalist”.

    If you read the history of the debates between founders, the clause was originally worded the way it is to emphasize that religion should be an entirely private matter, between individuals and God alone. Since the Everson case, it’s become a war back and forth between “Separationists” and “Accomodationists” on the Supreme Court.

    • Rebecca says:

      I do realize the church of England was established by King Henry VIII, but King James was the king actively pursuing an agenda to persecute the Separatist. I wasn’t talking about who started the Church of England. The Pilgrims, known as the Separatists, apparently sailed to the new world in order to secure the opportunity to practice their religion freely. I understand that There are different viewpoints as to what the writers of this amendment intended in regards to separation of church and state. I am expressing one of those points of views. Thank you for commenting!

      • Invisible Mikey says:

        They were entirely free to practice in Holland, where they went first. But the Separatists got upset (after a couple of years) that their younger members were being unduly influenced by the permissive attitude of the Dutch.

        The history of those early settlers had next to zero influence upon those writing the Constitution. Aside from points of view, that’s fact. But it’s your assignment. Write it any way you like.

    • Rebecca says:

      If it does do that, then why does the government get involved when somebody puts a manger scene up, or runs their business based on their personal religious convictions and principles? For instance, Hobby Lobby’s stance on being forced by the government to abide by the contraceptive mandate in the healthcare law. Because of the government’s intrusion, Hobby Lobby was forced to defend their religious liberties in the Supreme Court.

    • Rebecca says:

      I also believe that this amendment does not necessarily advocate or deny religion. But I do believe it protects people’s rights to worship freely and to live by their convictions.

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