Misreading Jefferson on Church-State Continues to Unleash Persecution in America

Jefferson was not in the country when they wrote the Constitution. He was not there when the founders wrote up the First Amendment, with its guarantee of religious freedom. But by taking him out of context 150 years or so after he wrote a private letter, the Supreme Court began the process of forcing separation of church (and ultimately, God) and state on America. The results we read about all the time.

Almost always it’s a lawsuit against some sort of Christian expression in the public arena. Just look at some stories from the past few years…

∙A church in Arkansas cancels a matinee presentation of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which would have been attended by grade-schoolers, should their parents allow them to attend. But the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers complained to the school that this would have been an alleged violation of the first amendment.[1]

∙A Christmas tree had to come down at the Willows, a retirement home in Newhall, California for being a “religious symbol,” and, therefore, as supposed violation of the separation of church and state. (Thankfully, enough complaints caused the center to allow a new tree.)[2]

∙An 8 year old girl, Olivia Turton, was not allowed to sing “Awesome God” during a talent show, after school hours at a Frenchtown, New Jersey school. Authorities claimed it was the “musical equivalent of a spoken prayer.” (Later, a court ruled in Turton’s favor—long after she had lost the opportunity to perform at the contest.)[3]

Along the same lines, here are recent headlines…

∙“ACLU wants veterans’ group removed from cross case.” The ACLU is aggressively suing for the removal of a 29 foot high veteran’s memorial cross on top of a mountain in San Diego.[4]

∙“ACLU demands Miss. school stop prayers.” The ACLU sent a cease and desist letter to a southern Mississippi school district to halt prayers. The letter alleges that “West Lincoln students, faculty, and staff are routinely subjected to official prayer at numerous school events, including student awards ceremonies and banquets, school-day assemblies, teacher meetings, holiday celebrations, sporting events and graduation ceremonies.”[5]

∙“Holy Photoshop! LSU erased Christian football fans’ crosses.” Some Christian college students were shocked to see that their university engaged in a petty type of censorship. Fox News notes: “A group of Louisiana State University football fans whose admiration for the Tigers is second only to their love for Jesus is outraged after the school digitally erased the tiny crosses they painted on their bare upper chests at a recent football game.” In the heyday of the Soviet Union, when politicians fell out of favor with Stalin, their image was often erased in photographs. Now you see them, now you don’t. Now you see the cross, now you don’t.[6]

∙“From Jailing Evangelists to Church Bomb Plot, Christian Persecution on the Rise in America.”

Writing for the Christian News, author Heather Clark opines: “Throughout 2012, numerous incidents have been making headlines pertaining to the persecution of Christians in America. Some believe that persecution is on the rise, and that matters will only continue to get worse across the country on both the federal and local levels.”[7] She cites as examples:

∙two evangelists were arrested for preaching at a West Windsor, New Jersey train station, allegedly for “speaking at the train station without a permit.”[8]

∙two street preachers got in trouble and one was arrested during a July 4th celebration in Holly Ridge, North Carolina. A police officer had told one of them they must stop, and he was arrested after reportedly saying, “This is the USA, not the Soviet Union. Shame on you, you need to repent . . . I am not disrespecting you; I respect your office, but not your manner. This is America.”[9] Later, charges were dropped.

∙a street evangelist got in trouble in August in Philadelphia, when a female heckler exposed her breasts. The officer told the preacher: “You’re drawing a crowd, and that young lady exposing herself, that ended it. Once you cross that boundary of freedom of speech in drawing a malicious or out-of-order crowd, that’s when we have to stop it,”[10]

∙Clark tells of an incident in the Crescent City: “In September, six Christians in New Orleans, Louisiana were arrested for violating a city ordinance that restricted them from preaching on the infamous Bourbon Street after sunset.”[11]

∙“Could You Go to Jail for Meeting for Worship and Bible Study in Your Home?” Dr. Karen Gushta writes about a father of six who went to prison for 60 days because he had Bible studies on his property in Phoenix. His home wasn’t zoned for worship services.[12]

And on and on it goes in an increasingly secular America. All of these can be traced back to the US Supreme Court’s misreading of Thomas Jefferson.

[1] NBC17.com, December 6, 2012.

[2] The Daily News (Los Angeles), December 6, 2012.

[3] The Limbaugh Letter, February 2013, 15.

[4]  http://www.abcnews4.com/story/19864368/aclu-wants-veterans-group-removed-from-cross-case

[5]  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/17/557791msschoolprayerclu_ap.html

[6]  http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/10/22/holy-photoshop-lsu-erased-christian-football-fans-crosses/#ixzz2AEZuzVgZ

[7]  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/

[8]  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/

[9]  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/

[10]  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/

[11]  http://christiannews.net/2012/10/17/jailing-of-evangelists-to-plot-to-bomb-churches-christian-persecution-on-the-rise-in-america/

[12] http://www.truthimpact.me/index.php/2012/09/jail-for-worship-in-your-home/

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