Episode 14: The Separation of Church & State
October 15, 2016 Michael Chardavoyne

Episode 14: The Separation of Church & State

Posted in Episodes

In this episode, Kurt talks about the separation of church and state in America. Have we really understood what that phrase meant or have we imposed our preconceived beliefs upon it?

Listen to “Episode 14: The Separation of Church & State” on Spreaker.

Kurt: Well a good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. Today’s episode we are talking about the separation of church and state. Here in America this month and I guess the first week in November we are doing a series of thematic episodes on political issues because of course, the election is coming up here in our country for president of the United States and so a couple of weeks ago we had an episode on issues pertaining to third party voting and whether that was a wasted vote. Last week we had a guest come in and talk about transgender issues, Jocelyn Floyd is counsel to the lawyers working the biggest case in the state of Illinois on that. There’s a lawsuit currently for the school district of Palatine, so it’s quite interesting to learn what she could say about that case and how Christians should think about these issues, but today we’re getting into the meat of the national government, if you will. We’re going to be looking at the historical context behind this phrase, “The separation of church and state,” and if you’re listening to this now either live or later on in the podcast, we are starting to do a Facebook Live feature. The past few weeks I think I’ve done it just for a little bit on my profile, but we’re going to start bringing that over to the Veracity Hill Facebook page so if you don’t like us yet on Facebook, please do because you will see the live feature since that is something that Facebook has been promoting so it’s really helpful. For those that are on my Facebook friends that are also listening, I’m taking your comments and questions here. We’ve got some people that are watching right now and have tuned in and had questions there, but before I get into this discussion today, what I want to say, there are so many issues here on the separation of church and state that we just won’t be able to cover, but before we play any of that, I want to play for you what is roughly about a 6 minute clip here and this is an interaction, this is a chunk from an episode of John Stossel who used to be on Fox Business. This comes from last year and here is an interaction between Stossel and a Christian and an atheist on separation of church and state and I just want to play this in full for you. I hope you’ll stick with me and listen through it because this is very typical how the conversation goes today. It is so typical, and yet it is so lacking in historical investigation so that’s why I want to play it because maybe you yourself have been a part of these discussions or you’ve heard these discussions happen, so here we’re going to play this clip from Stossel.

[Interview played]

Kurt: Alright. So that was a clip from John Stossel’s show on Fox Business that took place a year ago and I’m so glad that you’ve listened to that in full, because again that just is very similar to how the conversations are that we have today on the separation of church and state and I think this issue is very misunderstood and there are two key aspects, two mistakes that are made when talking about this issue. First, it’s that opponents of religion typically, often atheists, perhaps agnostics, they are very quick to cite the first amendment, the establishment clause of the Constitution of the United States and it says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” as if that somehow plays the trump card to end the discussion. Sadly a lot of religious folks do not know how to respond and the key on this issue, this first mistake is to quote the first amendment in full or rather just to continue quoting, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” So here it seems that the federal government wanted to remain neutral on the issue, but it didn’t want to prohibit the free exercise of religion. Before we get into looking deeper into the separation of church and state and where that came from, consider this. Atheists often say “Well, you can’t vote with your religion” or “Keep your religion at home. Don’t bring it to the voting booth,” as if somehow we should advocate for government that is entirely secular so that means that the government is not neutral because by being secular it’s already picked a side so then it’s not being neutral. It’s advocating for one position over another so this is problematic and I think this especially gets problematic when you consider that a secular government cannot ground the existence of rights. So Thomas Jefferson who penned the Declaration of Independence, he grounded, that is to say when I use this term grounding, I mean what makes it true, and he believed that rights were from the creator God. Right? That we are endowed with these rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and these rights come from God. Given a secular worldview or a secular government, you cannot ground rights in God because you can’t advocate for God. The way to move forward on this is to not only understand the issues here with the first amendment and that it should remain neutral, but it’s to look at the historical context of the separation of church and state because that’s what it really gets down to and so for that, well where does that phrase come from? You see it a little bit in the writings of the founding fathers in Virginia, but really, where it really comes into play is this letter, and Jefferson’s response to the letter, from the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut.

The Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut was a group of churches that received religious persecution from the official state church of Connecticut, which at that time was the Congregationalists. Well, you might be asking, what do you mean official state religion? Yes. This is, for those that have not studied the relationship between the religious and political views of early America, while the federal government tried to remain neutral, the tenth amendment of the Constitution, allowed the states to do pretty much whatever they wanted, because the Bill of Rights were prohibitions upon the federal government. Remember the first amendment? Congress shall make no law. Right? This is talking about the federal government. The various states had their own official religions. For example, Maryland, if you might be able to guess, was Catholic. Right? I believe it was the only Catholic state of the first thirteen, but various other Protestant ones, and this is all very official. This is in their state Constitutions. When we look at the separation of church and state we see that the state governments did not have separation. What exactly does that mean? What’s the context here? So consider in England to this day the relationship between church and state is that they are a part of each other. The Queen of England is the head of the Church of England. She runs the show. That’s how closely they are connected. And it is a state sponsored church which means that tax payer dollars go toward supporting the church. This is very fascinating because this is not the way that we have our system today.

If you go even further back in history, when a nation declared that a religion was to be the official religion, they required that the members of the society support those churches, not just through their tax dollars, but that’s just what they had to do. They had to go to, if it’s Scotland they had to go to a Presbyterian church, or if it’s England they had to go to an Anglican, Church of England, church. It persecuted other churches from even existing. They couldn’t build their churches so against that backdrop we see that the national government of the United States did not want to take an official stance so in that Stossel clip I played for you, the atheist cited the Treaty of Tripoli and that’s what this is about. The Treaty of Tripoli states that the United States was not founded upon the Christian religion. What it means is a formal grounding, a formal relationship, because as the Christian fellow pointed out, there was an informal relationship that existed between the government and the religion. The founders held to a diversity of views, but they still very much recognized the importance that faith played not just in a culture, not just in the society, but for grounding rights, for the existence of government, and that’s also really important because I think a lot of opponents of bringing faith into the public square, a lot of opponents think religion needs to be a cultural thing, but in reality religion grounds the existence and importance of government because on a Natural Law theory which is sort of a broader approach to religion where even Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, could agree on these sort of aspects to faith where God exists and is the grounding for our rights. Even on that view, we have rights and the government cannot take them away. So the government is supposed to recognize rights which exist, but in a secular worldview, you cannot ground rights in the creator God and government is what or who determines which rights exist and do not. That’s why the Christian fellow on the Stossel episode, he mentioned how when you take away God out of the picture then tyrants forge the chains of the people, something like that. I’m paraphrasing.

What that means is that when you take God out of the picture, we no longer have rights given to us that are transcendent to the government itself so that’s a really important distinction to understand because I do not think that a secular government can provide the basis for a just society. It will pick winners and losers to use a market term. It will pick winners and losers. Some people have these rights and other people don’t have these rights and that’s just because we said so and that is a very dangerous concept. Because we said so or because a majority of people voted so or even because the Supreme Court said so. That’s a dangerous territory to be in because it is God who gives us rights. It is not the government.

Let’s get into this separation of church and state, the wall of separation that we see here. So with the Danbury Baptist Association, they wrote to Jefferson under persecution from the state church of Connecticut. They wrote “We are sensible that the President of the United States is not the national legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each state, but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved president will shine and prevail through all these states and all the world till hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth.” So even here you have the Baptists from Connecticut, while they were undergoing persecution, yet they still recognized that there was a relationship to be maintained between the national government and the state government. Right? So they recognized that the laws of each state cannot be destroyed by the national government.

Such a concept doesn’t exist any more in our world today. The reason for that is what’s called the Incorporation Doctrine. Sadly, I don’t have enough time to get into that in today’s episode, but if you want to go ahead and start googling that and we’ll probably have an episode just devoted to the Incorporation Doctrine, which essentially has taken away the rights of states to create their own societies and so of course there’s a debate whether or not that’s a good or bad thing, but at the very least we can point to it as a historical indicator of how it is that we don’t recognize this relationship any more. Again, that there were official state religions and yet that’s not the case any longer.

So Jefferson wrote back and I’m going to read for you the whole letter. Dave here on Facebook that I’m such a freedom lover. Yes. That is the case. I am a freedom lover. I’m a big states’ rights guy as well. So let me find Jefferson’s letter here. So he writes back to the Baptists of Connecticut. He says,

Gentlemen,

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

 

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

 

So that was the letter that he wrote back and you know of course in that discussion that I played for you from Stossel’s show, you don’t have the historical backdrop. You’re not told what that is, where that phrase even came from, but rather they’re almost sort of bickering back and forth and they’re not even responding to each other’s points so the atheist, for example, talks about how “Churches shouldn’t be non-profits” and the Christian says “Well, it’s very beneficial. They’re providing a public service.” But there’s even other issues at stake here so suppose you do take away tax-exempt status, but then what you could be making might backfire for the atheist because then all of a sudden churches can start lobbying the government and they could start endorsing candidates and I imagine that’s not what the atheist wants and then to the concern from the Christian side on getting rid of the tax-exempt status, well then the government can also start regulating the church. “Oh no. These beliefs you can’t say. You can’t say that in this building.” And that is also concerning. It might start regulating religion because that defeats the whole purpose of their being neutral ground by the federal government. That is the historical context at its base level. I would very much encourage you if you’re interested in this to just go ahead and google search Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists and also first read the Danbury Baptists’ letter to Jefferson so you can see what they were requesting of him and really it wasn’t so much of a formal request because remember the Baptists knew the federal government could not go beyond its boundaries. It could not destroy the state laws. The state laws were essentially what was bringing persecution to the Baptists of Connecticut so Jefferson, he recognized this and he of course agreed with them while at the same time he wrote that the matter of religion is something that lies solely between man and his God and that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, so it was more of a personal support for these men and if anything were to happen, perhaps he could go personally and talk to the legislature of Connecticut, but he wasn’t going to use the power of government to override the state laws and so that’s really important and it’s something that you just don’t get in today’s discussions so there are a number of articles I’m hoping to talk about today. There’s an article from the Huffington Post last year by Dale Hansen. It’s titled “Yes. There’s A Constitutional Separation of Church and State.”

 

Often times, religious advocates will say “Well, there is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. The words aren’t there.” Hey! Victory for the religious right some people think. Well here’s the problem. As a good Christian who studies apologetics knows, the word Trinity does not appear in the Bible. Does that mean it’s not true? No. Of course not. Of course we still think that the Scripture talks about a Trinity and in the same way, a number of people argue that while separation of church and state is there in the Constitution even if it’s not there explicitly, and the Supreme Court has even said as much and has drawn that language of separation of church and state from Jefferson’s letter, but the question is “What is that relationship?” and a lot of people forget the context and they forget even before the context of Jefferson’s letter, they forget the context of what the separation was to be about. Right? Again, you’re looking at a formal declaration of a religion which would prohibit other religions from existing so think back, harken back to Europe, and this is what they saw, and there were religious wars that were fought over these issues, even denominational issues. Catholics vs. Protestants. England was just in turmoil constantly over revolution, over religious issues, and so they wanted to prohibit that. They wanted to make sure that they weren’t going to be having the religious wars of Europe and so that’s why the federal government was to remain neutral on the matter, but it left the states to decide for themselves.

 

There’s this really great book out there and I’ll have to get back to that Huffington Post article that I mentioned, but essentially that’s one of the errors that this fellow makes, is that he doesn’t look at the historical context. There’s a great book that everyone should get. It’s called “Founding Faith” by Steven Waldman. It was published in 2008 and everything except for the last chapter is a great historical survey. The last chapter he provides just his own view and I disagree with his interpretation. Essentially he holds to this fallacy that whatever happens in history’s good. So he’s got some great historical insight here because he recognized that for instance James Madison was reluctant to concede that the first amendment would only apply to the federal government and not to the state or local governments even though today they do. This was a debate that they had back then. This was the Federalism vs Anti-Federalism debate. What is the role to play here and what are the prohibitions of the federal government? It’s very interesting. It’s a great read to check out and you learn about the history of the first amendment. I would recommend that book. Charles here on Facebook is asking the name and author. That’s Steven Waldman and the book is called Founding Faith. I guess I’ve got to interact with some of the folks here on Facebook. Bruce has some quotes of the Founders.

 

We did have a question earlier. Bruce writes “All the Constitutions says is that the state cannot establish a religious organization. It does not say that citizens cannot act out of religious motivation or that the laws are not enforceable to the church.” Yes. That’s right and so we need to recognize that we as religious people can take our faith to the voting booth, but that doesn’t mean we’re looking to establish a state funded religion and that’s what the Founders wanted to prohibit against. Our contexts are different than their contexts and we need to understand their contexts so that we do not impose the words into our contexts today. You see this often even with interpreting the Bible where people will bring their own preconceived notions to the text. That’s called eisegesis, when we bring our own views instead of exegesis, bringing out meaning from the text. We can sometimes impose incorrectly. We impose meaning to the text and that’s what we see today with this debate on separation of church and state. Sadly, I do not think if you look at the historical context both broadly speaking about the intention of the founders to not have a formal organized government and then if you look at the letter, the letters between the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut and Thomas Jefferson, you will see what the historical context is about, both broadly speaking and narrowly speaking and when you understand that historical context, you will see that it’s not about keeping religion entirely separate from the political realm. Okay. I’ve done a lot of talking thus far. If you want to have your voice heard or you’ve got questions for us you can do so online. We’ve got comments here we’ll get to. So here’s the number if you want to call in. It’s 505-2STRIVE. That’s 505-278-7483 and we’ll get to some of your comments and if there are any callers after a short break from our sponsors.

 

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Kurt: Alright. Thanks for sticking with us through that break. So we’ve got some comments and questions here and before we get to that again, before the break I just briefly was explaining the concept of the separation of church and state, how often times in these discussions, atheists and Christians can be speaking past one another and they aren’t looking at the historical context so I think the first mistake is that with the first amendment, you have here this concept that Congress shall make no law. It’s not just a concept. It’s the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Well, the problem is that that is not the full quotation and if you continue quoting it’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That’s really important because think about all that’s entailed in that and you’ll see here that this is not, when the federal government was to remain neutral, that’s not synonymous with saying it was to be secular. Okay? In the first half of the show we played this clip from John Stossel and the Christian mentioned the importance that faith played for these fellows, not just culturally and socially, but for them it grounded rights in God and it grounded the importance of a government in God as well so it’s more than just a cultural thing which some atheists essentially want it to be and there are some great difficulties with thinking that a government should be secular, but secondly looking at the historical context here of building this wall of separation of church and state, when you read the letters, the letter between the Danbury Baptist Association and the letter to Thomas Jefferson, they both recognize that the federal government was prohibited from destroying the laws of each respective state because the states had their own religions and that’s very important if you want to understand the historical context here between the wall of separation of church and state. So that’s the narrow view and just broadly speaking that the Founders did not want to have a formal recognized state religion and so you this here with the Treaty of Tripoli where they said that it’s not founded upon the Christian religion. Essentially this meant that Muslims for example could come to the United States so that was some of their wording when they made this Treaty of Tripoli.

 

Let’s move on. We’ve got some comments here. Michala asks “Is Mormonism a helpful example of states choosing their religion. The Mormons left the Midwest and moved to unsettled land so that they could establish their own religious society.” Yeah. Thanks for your comment there. That’s a very good point, but let’s take it a step even further back. So when the Pilgrims first settled here in America they were fleeing religious persecution and it’s not necessarily that they wanted to set up their own societies where people could believe whatever they wanted. Rather they fled persecution so that they could set up their own society. That’s a crucial distinction and I’ll repeat it again. The Pilgrims fled the old world not so that they could build a society wherein anybody could believe whatever they wanted. They fled so that they could build their own society because what you see then is you see a collection of mini nations in our country, so the thirteen colonies and they all had their own official religion and so when they became states they still retained these official religions. Sometimes they changed so for example Maryland was founded as a Catholic state but eventually Anglicans sort of overran it and took it over so you do see this concept where people fled so they could establish their own religious society. Now some of the states, such as Rhode Island and later Pennsylvania, would create a society where people could believe whatever they wanted so in that state you could have different Christian denominations and this is just largely Christian. I mean historically speaking everybody was just Christian. Rarely were there Jews and Muslims but eventually that did happen over time so really it was a denominational distinction more than a religious one, but eventually in some of these states they allowed different denominations and if you wanted to bring change to a state you had to do the classic form of lobbying. You would lobby a state legislature to get it changed so you would send people to do that or you would send missionaries just like how Christians today might send missionaries to nations where Christianity is illegal so you would do the same thing and that’s what people did and there’s all sorts of stories about people of a different denomination. These are supposed to be Christian brothers. People of different denominations being persecuted thrown in jail, for advocating for say a Presbyterian view against the Baptist view. Something like that.  

 

This is very fascinating and some might think as a sad part of our history, but at the same time again, we can’t do away altogether with religion because it Is our religious beliefs that provide the intellectual grounding for our rights. If our rights don’t come from God, where do they come from? Where do they come from? If it’s from evolution, but then we could just evolve into something so we could evolve into a society that says, well murdering is right. Okay. So maybe society at large just decides what’s right and wrong. But societies can change what they think is right and wrong, for instance, Nazi Germany, and two, if you think that it’s societies that decide what’s right and wrong then we cannot critique other societies for their moral shortcomings because it’s just their society deciding what’s right and wrong. Well maybe it’s the individual you might think that decides what’s right and wrong, but then you’re essentially in a case of anarchy where anybody can just decide what’s right and wrong and if I would decide that I want to murder someone, that’s right for me and who are you to tell me what’s right and wrong. This sort of moral relativism, individualistic moral relativism, as opposed to a social level.

 

So there are all sorts of problems here if you think God is not the grounding for our moral rights and as I previously mentioned, I think it’s dangerous territory when you think that the government should be secular because then the government’s going to have their say over different religions, but that’s not to say again that we can’t hold to what I call the natural law theory, that there’s a broad, in a sense, ecumenical, I’m not speaking Christianly ecumenical, but religiously ecumenical position, where we can all agree that there’s a creator and that He provides the grounding for our rights and so then of course there’s a debate as to what those rights are and we’re not going to get into that on today’s show.

 

We did have some other questions early on here. Our comment here from Facebook, Bruce says that rights have to exist in practice. Yes. I think that’s right. A good point on that is the difference between freedom of worship and freedom of religion and so some people might like to think “Freedom of religion is free to just do your thing on Sunday mornings”, and that is not the view here that Christians are talking about. Freedom of worship entails that we take our beliefs outside of that church building. That we live out our faith and so that means for instance, not being forced to, there’s a woman that’s seeking help, suppose it’s a young teen who’s pregnant and she’s seeking help on options. If you are a Christian and you believe that abortion is wrong, what we Christians are advocating here is regarding freedom of worship and the freedom of conscience and that the Christian advising the young teen has the right not to talk about abortion because they think it is morally appalling. So that’s just one example of many examples here of the freedom of worship vs. the freedom of religion.

 

For those of you who may be curious about the official state religions, let me just provide a few examples here of where these states, what their positions were. There were only two of the thirteen colonies that adopted religious freedom as we might see it today. I previously mentioned Rhode Island. The other was Virginia and later on Pennsylvania would also join them. New Jersey, Vermont, North Carolina, and Georgia retained their bans on Catholics holding office, so later on you get the passing against religious tests for holding public office. Delaware required that office holders subscribe to Trinitarian Christianity, so Delaware taking the official orthodox position and so anybody that was a heretic could not hold office. Pennsylvania demanded that lawbreakers acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, taxes went to support the Congregationalist Church. South Carolina’s constitution declared that the Christian religion is the true religion. So this is very fascinating that they would take these official positions. After the Constitution was ratified and governments began to take form, states took advantage, I don’t want to say advantage, they used the option there of establishing of official religion and prohibiting others because that was the right of the states given by the tenth amendment. Remember the first amendment is only about Congress and not what the state governments could do, so South Carolina’s constitution explicitly favored Christian Protestants to “enjoy equal religious and civil privileges,” but only Protestants. In the state constitution of Virginia, which was drafted by George Mason, it is written “All men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.” Pennsylvania, although there were more religiously free than other states, still had religious requirements to take public office. Members of the state government must ascribe to this statement. “I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” None of this could have happened if it were not for the language of the first amendment so Mark Noll who’s a scholar at Notre Dame, he writes “From an American standpoint, early in the 21st century, the first amendment’s sweeping endorsement of religious liberty on the national level co-existing with government support for churches and religiously inspired legislation in the state may appear to be an anomaly,” so like I’d mentioned today we just don’t do that any more and so what are the reasons why? Is this a good or bad thing? And although we’re not getting into whether we should go back to that system or not, today we’re just talking about the concept of separation of church and state, so clearly if you look at the historical context and the way that the colonies and states were set up, Jefferson could not have meant that the government should be completely secular. You can’t possibly read that just on the narrow reading of the letters or the broad view here because look at what the states were doing and this was in their time it was acceptable. It’s only later on where they either change on their own or the incorporation doctrine would begin taking bits and pieces away here so I know this might be a lot for folks that haven’t thought about this issue before, but I just wanted to sort of provide an introduction if you will because perhaps if you’re listening you just did not know that there were official state religions and how do we understand that in light of the first amendment, the tenth amendment, the concepts here of the separation of church and state, building that wall that Jefferson talked about. I’m glad to share this information with you and I hope that you can begin researching it yourself. It’s very fascinating to look into the historical context here because it’s just something we don’t see today. We just don’t see this historical investigation into the separation of church and state and this goes on both sides I think sadly.

 

We have people that are just imposing their own views upon this historical text so they’re coming with their own viewpoint whether it’s an atheist or even a Christian. As I had mentioned, the Christian that’s imposing their own views. They just say “Oh, well the separation of church and state isn’t in the Constitution.” That’s not good enough. You’ve got to investigate where this phrase came from and understand it in its historical context so that we can learn to apply it to ourselves today and now on the atheist side of things, well they say they just want a completely secular position and that’s just not feasible. It’s not feasible philosophically and it’s not feasible historically in interpreting the separation of church and state because as I’ve mentioned, read Jefferson, look at the status of church and state in early America both in the colonies and in their statehood and you’ll see that it’s not about secularism. It’s about the federal government being neutral. Not secular, but being neutral on this issue and we definitely see that in their view that it’s God who grounds our rights. It’s not the government. The government recognizes these rights.

 

So really again, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but you really can’t say that the separation of church and state is about being a secular worldview, a secular government, because then the government’s picking a side. It’s saying you have to leave that at home. That’s not the way our system works. That’s not the way that the founders intended and to be really be enlightened into what the founders wanted we have to do some historical investigation. So when you do that then you’ll see that they wanted a society that was flourishing with religious thought, flourishing and diverse. Now for them the diversity took place through the collective societies of states holding to their official positions, but it wasn’t about individuals. It wasn’t sort of about relativistic religious views, that to each his own. For them, that may have been the case, but they also recognized states had their jurisdictions, so again Rhode Island and Virginia and later on Pennsylvania had what we might have today, but other states did not and it was those states rights to be that way. Again, very fascinating because we often think there’s no relationship any more between church and state and some of this I learned when I went and lived in England for a year because I began to learn about what it meant for the church and state to be wedded together. I would just encourage people if you ever get the traveling bug to go over to the U.K. and ask people what that’s like and they’ll explain it for you what the relationship is like and when you do that you can begin to recognize “Boy. That’s not what the founders set up at all!” and so you can really understand what they meant when they talked about not establishing a formal official state backed church. When you do that, you begin to see what is really meant by separation of church and state.

 

I want to thank those that have been on Facebook Live here watching this episode. We did it in full this time. In the past we’ve just done the introductory stuff so thanks for sticking with me if you have and thanks for watching. That does it for our show today. I want to thank the patrons that support Veracity Hill. If you want to learn more about what that’s like, you can go to the web site at Veracityhill.com/patron. Patrons are folks that are just chipping in a few bucks a month to help keep us going and then I also want to extend my gratitude for the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, The Illinois Family Institute, and Evolution 2.0, and I’m thankful to our tech team. Chris is here today. Joel is off and I want to thank you for listening in and for striving on truth, faith, politics, and society.

 

 

 

 

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