Based on the research for our book, Doubting Thomas, research which is available to all, we recommend a few common sense measures. Stop the witchhunt against anything Christian in the public arena. It is a major misreading of history to say that Jefferson would have us censor things by the government because they promote religious ideas. The ACLU’s crusade has no grounding in American history.
The big distinction here is that Jefferson believed in the separation of church and state. He did not believe in the separation of God and state. He certainly did not believe in state-sanctioned atheism, which in some cases is devolving into state-mandated atheism.
What the modern “civil libertarians” have done is to turn Jefferson on his head. And Madison for that matter. They have made a mockery of the religious freedom bequeathed to us by our nation’s founders. They have confused non-sectarianism with secularism. The founders didn’t want any one sect in charge of the other sects. But they certainly wanted religion to flow freely on a voluntary basis.
Recently, the House of Representatives has a new rule that a Member of Congress cannot say Merry Christmas if they send out an official mailing to their constituents. Why? Because of the “separation of church and state”? So called? That’s not at all what the founders gave us. The founders didn’t want a national denomination. But they didn’t intend for us to have the separation of God and state. And that’s precisely the type of thing that the politically correct elite seem to want today.
In a school in Wisconsin, the officials said, we’re going to have a winter concert. But no Christmas carols will be allowed. Now, the Supreme Court has actually ruled on this. They said that if you have such a festival, you’re allowed to have Christian songs, if there are also secular songs of the season. Same thing with a nativity scene. A town can lawfully have a manger scene provided there are a few other symbols of the season. Manger scenes are routinely challenged as a violation of the separation of church and state. Yet if that manger scene is surrounded by other symbols of the season, it is perfectly permissible according to the Supreme Court in a case they ruled on in 1983, in Lynch v. Donally. Virtually all of these church-state misunderstandings get back to a misreading of Thomas Jefferson. That’s why we wrote Doubting Thomas, to try and clear up the confusion.