by Andy Cohen / The Politics of Football / October 22, 2010
Allow me to start off this post by rehashing a little thing called the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
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 assmeble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That bolded part right there is commonly referred to as the “Establishment Clause,” and is the basis for the concept of the separation of Church and State. That means that the U.S. Government—or any state or local government, for that matter—cannot declare an official national religion, nor can they discriminate against any religion or any individual or group because of their religious beliefs.
Pretty simple concept. It’s something that (I thought) we all learned in the first grade. I mean, one of the first things we are taught about Thanksgiving is that the Pilgrims embarked on their flight from the Old World to flee the religious persecution at the hands of the British monarchy (or at least that ‘s the way I remember it being taught). The Pilgrims had their own religious beliefs, and they wanted the freedom to practice their beliefs in peace and without being thrown into jail for being different.
It’s long been a source of pride; something that distinguishes the United States from most of the rest of the world. And the United States is the pioneer of religious tolerance and acceptance. Ok, so we may not have always been perfect in that regard. The Jews haven’t always exactly been welcomed by all in this country with open arms. Prior to the election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency, being Catholic was considered a hinderence to national office.
For the remainder of this article, please go here.