The phrase "Separation of Church and State" has been bandied about for so long that many Americans believe that it’s actually in the Constitution.
In fact, those three words appear nowhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or any other document upon which the United States was established.
I once saw a documentary on this deception. The reporter walked about Capital Hill asking politicians where one might find the phrase “Separation of Church and State.” It was quite telling as time after time, the Congressmen and Senators - names you would recognize - responded, “Why, the Constitution, of course!”
On many occasions, after being asked to speak in high school or college venues, after hearing that I shared my faith with the students, well-meaning friends responded in shocked surprise, “Aren’t you afraid you won’t be asked back?” No, I wasn’t and yes, they did ask that I return.
I’ve also witnessed Fortune 500 types who were intimidated by the very thought of me coming into their workplaces.
Truth is, Thomas Jefferson's famous "wall of separation" between church and state comment was made in a letter to a group of Baptist clergymen January 1, 1802 in Danbury, Connecticut, who feared the Congregationalists Church would become the state-sponsored religion. Jefferson assured the Danbury Baptist Association that the First Amendment guaranteed that there would be no establishment of any one denomination over another.
It was never intended for our governing bodies to be "separated" from Christianity and its principles. The "wall" was understood as one directional; its purpose was to protect the work of The Church FROM the state. The world was not to corrupt The Church, yet The Church was free to teach the people its Biblical values. Our Founding Fathers – men like Jefferson – understood the purpose of Christ upon this Earth and the mission of Christians everywhere and would never have imagined forbidding the use of Biblical principles anywhere in our society. Our Constitution’s First Amendment keeps the government from running or establishing a State Church while ensuring that Christian principles will always remain within our government.
Our First Amendment also states expressly that government should not impede or interfere with the free practice of religion - ANY religion. The purpose of the separation of church and state in American society is not to exclude the voice of religion from public debate, but to provide a context of religious freedom where the insights of each religious tradition can be set forth and tested.
So, why are so many people playing the “Church ‘n State” card today? Mainly, they’re ignorantly “parroting” what they’ve heard or perceived, not knowing anything about the facts.
In addition, my experience has been that many are unnecessarily afraid. Where the Faith at Work Movement is concerned, many business owners are afraid of being sued by employees or being interviewed on the 10 O’Clock News.
Have you ever heard of Title VII? This is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that prohibits most workplace harassment, and discrimination, covers all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions with 15 or more employees. In addition to prohibiting discrimination against workers because of race, color, national origin, religion and sex, those protections have been extended to include barring against discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, sex stereotyping, and sexual harassment of employees.
Employers and Employees must confidently realize that Federal Law is on the side of people who desire to express their faith in the workplace.
There is NOTHING to fear.
So, if you’re reluctant to hire a Workplace Chaplain or allow an employee to study a Bible or a Koran, don’t be. In the long run, university surveys reveal that an Employee who exercises their religious freedom in the workplace expresses a deeper loyalty to the organization along with decreased absenteeism, reduced stress and fewer crimes against persons and property.
Now you know.
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