A misreading of Jefferson foisted separation of church and state (really, the separation of God and state) on America. The founding fathers, including Jefferson, would have vehemently disagreed with what has been happening as a result.
About 75 years after the Revolutionary War, some critics challenged the concept that America is a Christian nation—it was a challenge as to what the First Amendment meant regarding religion. The U.S. Congress appointed a commission to study the issue. Congressman Meacham of the House Judiciary Committee submitted his detailed report to the Congress on March 27, 1854, with a resounding “Yes” to the thesis. He documents in detail after detail the Christian origins of the country. Note what he said about Christianity and the American War for Independence: “Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”
It seems that every week brings news of a new assault on religious liberty in America. As of this writing, football helmets that contain a picture of a bishop’s hat are being removed becuase of the separation of church and state.
If the ACLU (and their ilk) went out of business today, they still would have their war against things Christian going on in modern America. How so? Because they successfully set into place this misreading of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists.
All it takes is for one person to complain that they are offended by some public display of religion, and the Christian side gets stripped from expression.
Today there seems to be more freedom to read the Bible in the public schools of Russia than in those of America. This is because of the misreading of Jefferson.
Co-author Jerry Newcombe’s daughter taught English as a second-language in rural Thailand a few years ago. On Christmas day, the school where she was teaching hundreds of mostly Buddhist children had a general assembly. They asked her if she would explain to the entire student body and faculty what Christmas was all about, including Santa Claus. She was able to share from the Gospel of Luke and to present a directly Christian message, and tie the tradition of Santa Claus (based on the Christian 4th century hero, St. Nicholas), to this group of more than 2,000 people. Could you picture such a speech in an American public school?
 United States Congress, March 27, 1854, Mr. Meacham giving report of the House Committee on the Judiciary. Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made During the First Session of the Thirty-Third Congress (Washington: A.O.P. Nicholson, 1854), 1, 6, 8-9.