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Separation of Church and State: "A Fatal Theory"

“O My children, how happy were the days when I could look down from Heaven upon you and find that America was so beautiful—a Christian nation, devout, pious, and following the road as given by the Eternal Father, through My Son and the Holy Spirit of light. And now that light has been darkened.” - Our Lady of the Roses, December 24, 1979


Did you know that the Catholic Church formally condemns the false opinion, “The Church must be separated from the State, and the State from the Church”?[1] Did you know that the Catholic Church calls the separation of Church and State “a fatal theory”?[2] And that to banish religion from the laws and from society is "a grave and fatal error”?[3]

In a New York Newsday article entitled, “No puppet of Pope, Kerry says,” Senator Kerry was quoted as saying:

“We have a separation of church and state in this country,” said the Massachusetts Democrat, who would be the nation’s second Catholic commander in chief if elected. “I don’t tell church officials what to do, and church officials shouldn’t tell American politicians what to do in the context of our public life.”

The Church will never accept “practices and doctrines which a perversion of morals and a warped judgment have unlawfully introduced”,[4] such as the legalization of abortion. Also, the Church insists that governments “should be constituted without involving wrong to any one.”[5] Furthermore, harmony should exist between Church and State: “This harmony has been not inaptly compared to that which exists between the body and the soul for the well-being of both one and the other, the separation of which brings irremediable harm to the body, since it extinguishes its very life.”[6]

John Adams, just 21 days before he signed the Declaration of Independence, wrote:

“Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure, than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”

Unfortunately, many of our government leaders, including Senator Kerry, do not believe this.

In this article we wish to (1) show that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, by Christian leaders; and (2) emphasize that absolute separation of Church and State never existed in the United States, nor was this ever the intention of the American Founders.

Christianity and the United States
Patrick Henry writes, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The U.S. Constitution was founded on biblical principles and had 55 people work upon it, of which 52 were Christians.[7]

The Father of our country, George Washington, publicly acknowledged God and rejected the error of separating religion from politics. In his First Inaugural Address he stated, “It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect….” Soon afterwards he addressed his Catholic fellow citizens in these words:

“I presume that your fellow-citizens will not forget the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their revolution, and the establishment of their government, or the important assistance they received from a nation in which the Roman Catholic faith is professed.”[8]

George Washington proclaimed that all nations have a duty to publicly acknowledge God: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor….”[9] Almost one hundred years later, President Abraham Lincoln emphasized that “it is the duty of nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God”.[10] James Madison, fourth President of the United States, wrote:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

He also stressed:

“The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.”

These presidential statements conform to the Church’s teaching, as proclaimed by Pope Leo XIII: “…civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless….”[11]

The Christian foundation of the United States was the Founders’ glory. In the words of President John Quincy Adams, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”[12]

In order to determine the reason for America’s success in its democracy, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville was commissioned by the French government to travel to the United States. After visiting the United States in 1831, he wrote:

“Religion in America … must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of their Republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.”

In a similar vein G. K. Chesterton wrote, “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.”[13]

“Fatal theory” of separation of Church and State
George Washington, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, said, “If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed at the Convention, where I had the honor to preside, might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical Society, certainly I would not have placed my signature on it.”[14]

The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, wrote:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty ... of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” (1816)

Justice David Brewer stated:

“This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…. We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth…. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” (1892)

The controversial statement about a wall of separation between church and state was made by Thomas Jefferson in a letter on January 1, 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The context of this statement was that the Danbury Baptists had heard a widespread rumor that the Congregationalists were to become the national religion. This was very alarming to people who knew about religious persecution in England. He wrote:

“I contemplate with solemn 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.”

This wall was to keep the government out of religion, but would ensure that Christian principles would always remain in American government.

The 1978 Supreme Court case McDaniel v. Patyark emphasized the rights of citizens of faith:

“The Establishment Clause does not license government to treat religion, and those who teach or practice it, simply by virtue of their status as such, as subversive of American ideals and therefore subject to unique disabilities ... In short, government may not as a goal promote “safe-thinking” with respect to religion and fence out from political participation those, such as ministers, whom it regards as over-involved in religion. Religionists no less than members of any other group enjoy the full measure of protection afforded speech, association, and political activity generally. The Establishment Clause, properly understood, is a shield against any attempt by government to inhibit religion ... it may not be used as a sword to justify repression of religion or its adherents from any aspect of public life.”

George Washington himself warned, “Do not let anyone claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics.” This is the true role that Christianity played in the founding and growth of the United States.

Not only is absolute separation of Church and State un-American, it is also an error that is promoted by the communists. This interesting fact will shed a great deal of light:

“This phrase [separation of Church and State] does not appear in our Constitution or any of our country’s official documents. It does, however, appear in another prominent document, the Constitution of the former Soviet Union: ‘The church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state and the school from the church.’(Article 52)”[15]

It is worth repeating that the Catholic Church, through Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius IX, formally condemned the separation of Church and State as an error and "a fatal theory". It is plainly obvious why it is an error. Currently in the United States murder of the unborn for the sake of convenience is considered a personal “freedom”, prayer is outlawed in public schools, and the fatal theory of separation of church and state has been and is being used as a weapon to remove Christianity from the public sector.

The Bible clearly states, “There is not power but from God” (Rom 13:1). All power comes from God and according to His providential plan, legitimate rulers participate in God’s power over the world. The Church states that it is an absurdity for the commands of God to be disregarded in the framing of laws:

“There are others, somewhat more moderate though not more consistent, who affirm that the morality of individuals is to be guided by the divine law, but not the morality of the State, for that in public affairs the commands of God may be passed over, and may be entirely disregarded in the framing of laws. Hence follows the fatal theory of the need of separation between Church and State.”[16]

Pope Leo XIII continues:

“But the absurdity of such a position is manifest. Nature herself proclaims the necessity of the State providing means and opportunities whereby the community may be enabled to live properly, that is to say, according to the laws of God. For, since God is the source of all goodness and justice, it is absolutely ridiculous that the State should pay no attention to these laws or render them abortive by contrary enactments.”[17]

It is absurd to claim a “right” to murder the unborn for personal convenience. According to Church teaching, the Roe v. Wade ruling is no law but an usurpation of law, where the Supreme Court arrogated to itself power to permit what no man can permit: the murder of the innocent. Pope John Paul II states in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life:

“The legal toleration of abortion or of euthanasia can in no way claim to be based on respect for the conscience of others, precisely because society has the right and the duty to protect itself against the abuses which can occur in the name of conscience and under the pretext of freedom.”

Robert Bork explains that the Supreme Court Justices in Roe v. Wade “invented a heretofore unheard-of constitutional right to ‘personal dignity and autonomy.’”[18]  Bork also writes:

Roe and the decisions reaffirming it are equal in their audacity and abuse of judicial office to Dred Scott v. Sanford. Just as Dred Scott forced a southern pro-slavery position on the nation, Roe is nothing more than the Supreme Court’s imposition on us of the morality of our cultural elites.”

George Washington emphasized in his Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” The wisdom of morality for the good of society is common sense.

Government leaders who pay no attention to God’s law abuse political power:

“Besides, those who are in authority owe it to the commonwealth not only to provide for its external well-being and the conveniences of life, but still more to consult the welfare of men’s souls in the wisdom of their legislation. But, for the increase of such benefits, nothing more suitable can be conceived than the laws which have God for their author; and, therefore, they who in their government of the State take no account of these laws abuse political power by causing it to deviate from its proper end and from what nature itself prescribes.”[19]

Similarly, President George Washington stated: “We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained….”[20]

Justice Rehnquist: U.S. not founded on absolute Church-State separation
In the 1985 Supreme Court case Wallace v. Jaffree, Justice William Rehnquist dissented from the majority opinion and explained in very detailed historical terms the fact that an absolute Church-State separation never existed in the United States. He explained that the framers of the First Amendment (including the chief framer, James Madison), merely had in mind that the United States government should not establish a national religion. He referred back to the Court’s own words thirty-eight years previous, which said:

"In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State.’ Reynolds v. United States, [98 U.S. 145, 164, 25 L.Ed. 244 (1879)]."

Rehnquist then went on to give several proofs that there never was an absolute separation of Church and State, and that the following incidents could never have occurred if such was the case.

The language that James Madison first proposed for what ultimately became the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment reads as follows:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.”

Several revisions followed, until the final version was agreed upon. Clearly, Madison saw the First Amendment as designed to prohibit the government from establishing of a national religion. As Rehnquist noted, “He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion.”

Rehnquist mentioned that “the actions of the First Congress, which reenacted the Northwest Ordinance for the governance of the Northwest Territory in 1789, confirm the view the Congress did not mean that the government should be neutral between religion and irreligion.” This ordinance provided that “[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Rehnquist also referred to Joseph Story, a member of the Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845, who published one of the most comprehensive studies of the United States Constitution that had appeared to that date. In Volume 2 of Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, he discussed the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment:

“Probably at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the amendment to it now under consideration [First Amendment], the general if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.” (pp. 630-632)

Story also wrote:

“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 a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.“

Clearly, the First Amendment was not meant to advance infidelity to God. According to Chief Judge Hand, “at the turn of the century, for example, no person who denied the existence of God could hold offices in such states as Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, or South Carolina.”

Thomas Cooley, a legal authority whose eminence rivaled that of Story, stated the following in his treatise Constitutional Limitations:

“But while thus careful to establish, protect, and defend religious freedom and equality, the American constitutions contain no provisions which prohibit the authorities from such solemn recognition of the superintending Providence in public transactions and exercises as the general religious sentiment of mankind inspires, and as seems meet and proper in finite and dependent beings. Whatever may be the shades of religious belief, all must acknowledge the fitness of recognizing in important human affairs the superintending care and control of the Great Governor of the Universe, and of acknowledging with thanksgiving His boundless favors, or bowing in contrition when visited with the penalties of his broken laws. No principle of constitutional law is violated when thanksgiving or fast days are appointed; when chaplains are designated for the army and navy; when legislative sessions are opened with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures, or when religious teaching is encouraged by a general exemption of the houses of worship from taxation for the support of State government.”[21]

One of the earliest acts of the first House of Representatives was to elect a chaplain. James Madison, who was a member of the Congressional committee, recommended the chaplain system. On May 1, 1789, the House elected as chaplain the Reverend William Linn, appropriating money from the federal treasury to pay his salary. Had James Madison believed in the absolute separation of Church and State, he would certainly have objected to the election of a chaplain.[22]

In 1782, the United States Congress voted for this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

Referring to Jefferson’s letter, Justice William Rehnquist warns that the “greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.” He also emphasizes that

“The Establishment Clause did not require government neutrality between religion and irreligion nor did it prohibit the Federal Government from providing nondiscriminately aid to religion. There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the ‘wall of separation’ that was constitutionalized in Everson.”

Restore America to “one nation under God”
The United States owes her greatness to the goodness of Almighty God, who has showered our country with so many blessings throughout its history. Pope Leo XIII wrote, “Reason shows, and history confirms the fact, that the higher the morality of States, the greater are the liberty and wealth and power which they enjoy.”[23]

We must be aware what is happening to our country. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family warns that an “objective of the revisionists is to convince the American people that Christians, specifically those with conservative inclinations, are in violation of the Constitution whenever they advocate their views beyond the front doors of their sanctuaries.” Dr. Dobson at the same time is hopeful:

“Fortunately, those who would rid us of our spiritual heritage have an impossible task on their hands. To sanitize our history, it would be necessary to expunge all official records, burn old textbooks, close the Library of Congress, destroy the existing diaries and letters and sandblast half the buildings in Washington, D.C. And still the evidences of our faith would exist. An image of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives; our coins proclaim ‘In God We Trust’; our Pledge of Allegiance declares that we are ‘one nation, under God’; our Declaration of Independence asserts that we are ‘endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights’; the oath of office for the presidency ends with the phrase ‘so help me God’; and on it goes.”

In conclusion, President Woodrow Wilson stated:

“America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of the Holy Scripture.”

1. Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, December 8, 1864, #55.
2. Pope Leo XIII, Libertas, #18.
3. Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, #32.
4. Libertas, #41.
5. Ibid., #41.
6. Ibid., #18.
7. M.E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution, pp. 4-5.
8. Quoted in Cardinal Gibbons, Faith of Our Fathers, pp. 197-198.
9. Thanksgiving Proclamation, October 3, 1789.
10. President Abraham Lincoln, “Proclamation for a day of Prayer and Fasting,” March 30, 1863.
11. Libertas, #21.
12. July 4, 1821.
13. G.K. Chesterton, essay, “What I Saw in America.”
14. Reply to Virginia United Baptist Churches, May 10, 1789.
15. “Restoring the Christian Voice: Informational Fact Sheet,” Center for Reclaiming America website.
16 Libertas, #18.
17 Ibid.
18. Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, p. 103.
19. Libertas, #18.
20. George Washington, Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789.
21. Thomas Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, pp. 470-471.
22. See Jaffree v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County, 1983.
23. Libertas, #22.


“Learn a simple lesson from the past, My children. When the morals of a country stare to go down into darkness, and the teachings turn from God to man, that country will soon be ended. First the spiritual life and then the material life of your country shall be destroyed.” - Jesus October 2, 1976


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1st Amendment 'doesn't create church-state wall of separation'
Court whacks civil-liberties group, OKs Ten Commandments display, WorldNetDaily, December 20, 2005

The myth of the Separation Clause, Christian Hartsock, April 14, 2005

Buying the big lie of 'church-state separation, WorldNetDaily, January 7, 2005

Nature of Human Liberty (Libertas), Pope Leo XIII, June 20, 1888

United States not founded on absolute Church-State separation (dissent of Justice Williarm Rehnquist)

Separation of church and state redefined by the liberal agenda -- including gay marriage and "hate speech", Guy Adams, November 17, 2004


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April 12, 2018