The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity.So says Brian Fischer at his column on RenewAmerica.
That someone has such a limited grasp of the Constitution and history is nothing short of amazing. He even goes so far as to quote a "Constitutional scholar" who says:
"The real object of the [First] amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment, which should give to an hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government."Really? I seem to remember the First Amendment to our Constitution differently:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.The parts of the First Amendment dealing with religion are commonly referred to as freedom of and freedom from religion. The government will not force a state religion (freedom from) and will not prohibit a citizen from exercising religious faith (freedom of).
I love that Fischer and his so-called Constitutional expert both seem to think Thomas Jefferson wanted to prevent the establishment of one Christian sect as primary but had no concerns about the free speech or exercise of religion for other religious faiths. Jefferson is who coined the term "separation of Church and State" and his interpretation of the First Amendment has stood the test of time. Plus, he was not really the kind of Christian that Fischer would have approved of - being a deist and eschewing orthodoxy.
These people who hold up Jefferson has the perfect example of a Christian Founding Father should really pay attention to history. Or at least let the man speak for himself:
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 and State.Or this:
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than of blindfolded fear.There are more, of course. Jefferson was intensely interested in theology but not orthodoxy. He even went so far as to create an edited version of the Bible that removed all mention of miracles. Not really the kind of Christian Fischer and his cronies would like if they took the time to really get to know the man.
H/T to Texas Freedom Network for the article that led me down this rabbit hole.