Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

March 13, 2014

LETTERS FOR MARCH 13, 2014: ‘Wall of separation’ misinterpreted

Throughout much of our history, teachers read the Bible to students and Scripture was memorized. Students and teachers prayed together and the Ten Commandments were displayed in the schools. The teaching of creation was once the norm.

The philosophy that characterized America for centuries clearly has undergone a radical change over the years. For instance, the alleged “wall of separation between church and state.”

This often-used phrase is normally attributed to the Constitution. In reality it came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, in response to the Danbury Baptist’s concern over a rumor they had heard that the American government was going to set up a national church, much like the Anglican Church in England. In the letter, Jefferson explained to the clergymen that the Founding Fathers had set up a wall of separation between church and state to prevent that from happening in America.

Thomas Jefferson had no intention of allowing the government to limit, restrict, regulate or interfere with public religious practices. He believed, along with the other Founders, that the First Amendment had been enacted only to prevent the federal establishment of a national denomination. In 1947 the Supreme Court took a simple statement intended to imply that government wouldn’t interfere with the church and they distorted it. The court used Jefferson’s letter to create a new interpretation of the First Amendment. The result was an interpretation that went well beyond the Framer’s original intent.

Belief in God is not an establishment of religion. Belief in a supernatural being who created mankind is not an establishment of religion.

The first and governing guideline in the interpretation of the Constitution is to discover the original intent of those who made it. It’s the duty of the court to protect the Constitution not change it.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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