Letter Writer misses Jefferson’s point about ‘God’ in schools

I often chuckle when people repeat quotes of our founding fathers in order to argue for their side while ignoring what the founding fathers were actually saying. This letter writer thinks Jefferson wasn’t supporting separation of church and state, but I guess it is how you read the quote and comprehend it;

Jefferson spoke directly against such an incursion of federal power, citing the First Amendment and Tenth Amendment restrictions on the federal government: “Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General [federal] Government.”

I guess, there is no other way to comprehend this statement, except a separation of church and state. But the quote also includes this little ending to try to confuse the reader;

“It must then rest with the States.”

While the States do have their own constitutions, they must follow the highest law of the land, the US Constitution which contains the 1st Amendment. States often try to skirt this very important amendment, and have often failed. There is currently a lawsuit pending on this when it comes to out of state campaign money. But even if states were granted supreme power to ignore the 1st Amendment when it comes to placing ‘In God We Trust’ in schools;

  • Why have they offered to defend school districts in lawsuits? If they think they are creating laws that are constitutional, why would they have to have this disclaimer?
  • Who in this state asked for this legislation? While we are a representational government, who asked our representatives to change the law? Clergy? School Districts? Voters? I have never heard of one single group asking our representational government to do this. Why? Because most people with common sense know this is unconstitutional, and even if it wasn’t, what difference does it make?

Are we so ignorant and naive to believe that by posting ‘God’ in the mess hall of a school somehow we will produce a born again revolution of school kids? Give me a break. If you want your children to have a religious foundation in their education you have the option and the right to send them to a private school.

Our public schools are designed to educate, whether that is math or literature, or working together on a sports team, or creativity in the arts. Our teachers are NOT clergy. Faith is something that needs to be taught by parents with the assistance of faith based organizations that are NOT publicly funded for a reason, it violates the separation clause, something I think Jefferson was VERY clear about. Separation of Church and State is there to PROTECT people of faith from government intruding into your personal beliefs. It’s a good thing. If legislators truly want to SAVE our children from the powers of evil, the first thing they need to do is fund public education and healthcare better, something the state has the power to do, but continues to fail. Once that happens then we can talk about posting signs that actually mean something.


#1 Roger Cornelius on 04.14.19 at 5:20 pm

Where is Madeline Marie O’Hare when you need her?

#2 kurtz on 04.15.19 at 6:56 am

Recall South Dakota and most of the Northwest was seized from aboriginal cultures by President Thomas Jefferson through an executive order that even he believed was unconstitutional. He’d be horrified to learn that the US is operating with a 242 year old manual and would be shocked to learn any American Indians survived at all.

This country’s founders never expected the US Constitution as written to last more than ten years and most predicted it would likely be rewritten every generation. Jefferson wrote that a standing army would lead to military adventurism, would ultimately turn on its own citizens and that has happened. Now, we’ve become the Hamiltonian Empire Thomas Jefferson warned us about so thanks to the GOP we are witnessing the end of the republic as we have known it.

Welcome to Hell.

#3 Conservative Here on 04.15.19 at 1:19 pm

Oh the GOP is to blame for Military adventurism interesting. I believe Truman got us into the Korean War and Kennedy/LBJ got the ball rolling in Vietnam and never got out when they knew it was unwinnable, only doubled down. I think it was President Eisenhower who warned us of the Industrial Military Complex.

I am pretty sure the both sides voted and supported both invasions of Iraq and subsequent continued involvement along with Afghanistan. To pin this on the GOP is not accurate. I believe the last regime talked about getting out of Iraq & Afghanistan, never did and it expanded to Libya and other areas. A war hawk is a war hawk, regardless of party and there have been PLENTY of DEMS who have supported, politic’d, and sent our troops off to BS wars all over the globe. We have been in perpetual war since WW2 and have not declared war on any country since WW2, they are all just “authorization of military force”.

Welcome to Hell was your quote, well your party is just as much to blame for the perpetual wars as the R’s.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 04.15.19 at 3:02 pm

Prior to the passage of the 14th Amendment (1867 ?), the federal Bill of Rights only applied to those constitutional issues which had the federal court system as their site of original jurisdiction. Only with the passage of the 14th did state and local courts become beholden to any federal rights for individuals found within the federal Bill of Rights.

Jefferson’s comment recognizes this reality to his time, and is not a legitimate suggestion in our time to the limits of the federal 1st Amendment’s control of state and local acts or laws.

Plus, even in Jefferson’s time, the Bill of Rights of the many state constitutions offered religious freedom, which itself would have included in it an understanding (hopefully through developed case law) that an established religion, whether by a federal, state, or local government is unconstitutional. Jefferson’s quote is merely making a point about states’ rights and not about the right of the appropriate government in time and place having a say about the establishment of religion or a given religion.

Frankly, it’s all about the 14th Amendment. Often there is a lack of case law at the state level to develop or protect a right, but thanks to the 14th, that is no longer a concern, when dealing with those rights found within the Bill of Rights at the federal level.

#5 Ljl on 04.15.19 at 3:08 pm

Once again posting religious click bait or super misguided on the constitution.

So bunch of religious zealots who lived by a book written thousands of years earlier never intended the constitution to be permanent. Your nuts Kurt z

#6 l3wis on 04.15.19 at 8:34 pm

Kurtz, while I agree with your comment to a certain extent, I’m not posting it, give it up. I’m of the opinion that the more we talk about peace and less about violence we can change the way people think about things. I not for giving the whackos more ideas on ways to kill us.