The Ridiculousness of Separation of God and State

By Scott Lilly | Aug 13, 2014

This is the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States adopted on December 15, 1791:

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.

Some are surprised that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the Constitution.  The First Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights and we Americans have a right to freely exercise religion in any way, unencumbered by our government at any level and in any way.  Furthermore, the government cannot give preference to any religion – nor can it stop anyone from being religious nor force anyone to be religious.

But there is one paradox that is impossible to ignore: atheism and anything like it as defined as a rejection of belief in the existence of deities (gods).  Atheism is a religion because it requires faith that no god exists.  Do not confuse an atheist with an agnostic.  Agnostic people simply have no faith that a god exists or not. 

It is not possible to separate God and state – even by those who choose not to participate in their “free exercise of religion”.  The unalienable Right to have Liberty (defined in the First Amendment as freedom of religion) comes from a Creator.  Deny the Creator and you deny the Liberty to have the religious freedom.

In the same First Amendment is also the Right to free speech.  The same logic can be applied.  The unalienable Right to have freedom of speech comes from a Creator.  Deny the Creator and you deny the Liberty to have the freedom of speech. 

If someone chooses not to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech, there is no provision to keep others from exercising their free speech.  That would be a ridiculous argument.  So how is it that we should accept an argument against freedom of religion from people who choose not to exercise their freedom of religion?  That would be equally ridiculous!

If somehow we want to retain our unalienable Rights while denying the Creator that is said to have endowed us our Rights, then our Rights are merely endowed to us by a social contract or by consent of man.  Our charter document, The Declaration of Independence, would then be made invalid in premise and we are put right back to our position when we were ruled by a king.  And if Rights were given to us by man, they can be taken from us by man.  Monarchy, republic, democracy, executive order, ruling by the court, passed legislation – there are numerous ways a government can take rights away.  Rights granted by man are only unalienable only as long as he doesn’t change his mind -- or collect enough votes.

Separation of church and state is a good policy to have in our government.  No religion ought to be promoted or favored.  But there is no way to deny a Creator or Nature’s God in the United States of America.  “In God We Trust” is an appropriate motto – the beauty of the great American melting pot is that everyone gets to decide for themselves who God is and how much or little they choose to recognize Him.  The sooner we can all get on the same page to remember that all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”, the better off we’ll be.   If you need inspiration to consider the matter further, watch the movie God’s Not Dead – it just left The Strand @ 38 Main but it’s now out to rent.

Comments (5)
Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 14, 2014 08:45

          Mr. Lilly;


           OUR Founders certainly didn't think it was "ridiculous".

           The Declaration of Independence was the first time men representing the 13 colonies came together to declare independence. It was the first time they embraced "self-evident truth's" verses revealed. It was the first time they embraced the Deistic notion of inherent inalienable rights.  It must be remembered that these men were from differing sects with differing opinions and they had to embrace what all had in common with one another. And John Locke's Theory on Tolerance was well read as well as Jefferson's Rights of Man. etc, etc. And! the Unitary theory of Jesus as a man had great influence. Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Franklin, and eventually Adams all embraced it. As the Revolution gained traction, the colonists became more and more supportive of inherent liberty verses directly given rights from a God that chose to remain "unknown" and the c in "Creator" became a non-capitolized c as Jefferson's first draft of the DOI stated: "We hold these truth's to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable...."

          The idea of directly given by God rights was rejected for inherent one's. And it was the responsibility of OUR Godless secular Government to equally protect OUR birth-rights.

            From Jefferson's Autobiography page 58:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.


              Equal protection means just that.

              Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.





Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 14, 2014 09:07

"Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion." -- Your freedom of free speech includes your right to burn the very US flag that symbolizes what gives you the right to free speech.  Yet you do not have the right to burn my US flag.  And you do not have the right to burn the US flag at any school or government building.  Yet those that argue "freedom from religion" make that logical argument.  It is a ridiculous argument.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 14, 2014 11:19

         Burning the flag ain't got nuthin to do with religion.


          Religion was intended to be a personal and private exercise between oneself and the God(s) of their choice if any, with no interferrance from OUR govt. nor taxes paid spent.



Posted by: Scott Lilly | Aug 14, 2014 11:54

"Religion was intended to be a personal and private exercise between oneself and the God(s) of their choice" -- It is the most basic principle of how "morality" should be governed.  An acknowledgement that "man's law" cannot supersede "Laws of Nature", "Nature's God", and "self-evident truths".


Those that say no God exists must define where "Laws of Nature", "Nature's God", and "self-evident truths" come from that provides them the freedom that they enjoy.  Or minimally they have to respect that their First Amendment rights are guaranteed to them conditionally that We The People buy into the assumption that those unalienable Rights are theirs by no act of man and is represented by the concept of "God".  Without any concept of God, humans are just another creature on the planet having no more "rights" than a cockroach.  (A powerful point debated in the movie God's Not Dead.)


Beyond a "Creator" is "religion" -- something in which our government has no interest even though individuals in it may.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Aug 15, 2014 08:40

              We the people alreddy done had the conversation.

              They insisted on a Godless Constitution.

              It was written using previously established or otherwise Founding Principles.

              Primarily Madison used George Mason's Declaration of Rights as his cornerstone. He combined it with what he had established in his Remonstrance and Remembrance Against Religious Assessments in Favour of the Teachers of the Christian Religion and of course Jefferson's Act For Establishing Religious Freedom.

                  So far no other life form has evolved enough to declare rights for themselves. We have.

                   Some reading material:


“The danger of silent accumulations & encroachments by Ecclesiastical Bodies have not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S.  They have the noble merit of first unshackling the conscience from persecuting laws, and of establishing among religious sects a legal equality.  If some of the States have not embraced this just and this truly Xn principle in its proper latitude, all of them present examples by which the most enlightened States of the old world may be instructed.”

[Alley, Robert S., James Madison on Religious Liberty, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985, pg 89]

“Ye States of America, which retain in your Constitutions or Codes, any aberration from the sacred principle of religious liberty, by giving to Ceasar what belongs to God, or joining together what God has put assunder, hasten to revise & purify your systems, and make the example of your Country as pure & compleat, in what relates to the freedom of the mind and its allegiance to its maker, as in what belongs to the legitimate objects of political & civil institutions.”

[Alley, Robert S., James Madison on Religious Liberty, Prometheus Books, New York, 1985, pg 90]

“The great objects which presented themselves were 1. to unite a proper energy in the Executive, and a proper stability in the Legislative departments, with the essential characters of Republican Government. 2. to draw a line of demarkation which would give to the General Government every power requisite for general purposes, and leave to the States every power which might be most beneficially administered by them. 3. to provide for the different interests of different parts of the Union. 4. to adjust the clashing pretensions of the large and small States. Each of these objects was pregnant with difficulties. The whole of them together formed a task more difficult than can be well conceived by those who were not concerned in the execution of it. Adding to these considerations the natural diversity of human opinions on all new and complicated subjects, it is impossible to consider the degree of concord which ultimately prevailed as less than a miracle.”

[Madison, James, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 1, J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1865, pg 344]

“We hold it for a ‘fundamental and undeniable truth,’ that religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.  The religion, then, of every man, must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.  This right is, in its nature, an unalienable right.  It is unalienale, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated in their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 3]

“It is the duty of every man to render the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 3]

“Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe; and if a member of the civil society, who enters into any subordinate association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority, much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular civil society do it with the saving his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign.  We maintain, therefore, that in matters of religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of civil society; and that religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 4]

“Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe, the religion which we believe to be of Divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.  If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: to God, therefore not to men, must an account of it be rendered.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 5-6]

“The bill implies, either that the civil magistrate is a competent judge of truth, or that he may employ religion as an engine of civil policy.  The first is an arrogant pretension, falsified by the contradictory opinions of rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second is an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 6]

“It is known that this religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them; and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence, and the ordinary care of Providence.”

[Madison, James, A Memorial and Remonstrance on the Religious Rights of Man, S. C. Ustick, Washington, 1828, pg 6-7]



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