The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.
A Memorial and Remonstrance, James Madison, ca. 20 June 1785
Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.
A Memorial and Remonstrance, James Madison, ca. 20 June 1785
If that flag's goin'a keep waving over the Land of the Free, then it had better be damn sure it's waving over the Home of the Brave!
Conclusion of Secular Humanist Revival Meeting, Orson Scott Card, ca. 1986
My apologies for this page being so slap-dash. Religious liberty is very important to me and is something that I would hate to lose, something that I don't think I could live without. It certainly deserves far better treatment than I am able to give it here at this time.
My reason for posting this page at this time is to make information available to others through the following files, notes, and links.
- A Memorial and Remonstrance by James Madison. To my knowledge, contains the earliest reference to church-state separation (see the quote above), written a few years before Madison drafted the First Amendment. According to the standards demanded by the Religious Right in the 1980's, this document clearly reveals the original intent of the drafter of the First Amendment. Madison also clearly describes here the detrimental effects of not keeping religion and government separate.
- My letter to the Editor on school prayer.
- My letter to the Editor on the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools.
- My message post on CompuServe concerning the Religious Right claim that the American government was founded on Christian principles.
Notes:Around the time that that congressman defected out of the GOP (doh! -- I forget his name now!), I heard on a National Public Radio newscast that the GOP had controlled both the Presidency and Congress was in the Eisenhower administration. Let's take a quick look at some of what they did:
Please note those dates carefully, because a lot of Christian revisionists will quote both "In God We Trust" and "one nation under God" as if they had always been there. Well, they haven't been. It only happened within my own lifetime and I'm not that old yet. Don't let them bamboozle you nor the public.
- In 1954, an act of Congress scrapped our National Motto of 178 years, "E Pluribus Unum" ("Out of many parts, one"), and replaced it with "In God We Trust". The new wording first appeared during the Civil War, when it was placed on some Union currency.
- In 1955, Congress mandated that the new Motto be placed on all our currency. Up to this point since the Civil War, it's placement on currency was not required and was only done sporadically. From now on it was required, but the Treasury was not able to comply fully until the early 1960's.
- In 1956, an act of Congress inserted the words "under God" into our Pledge of Allegiance. From the Pledge's origin in 1892 up to 1956, the United States had been "one nation, indivisible." From this point on, it would be divided by our religious differences.
Those offenses against religious liberty happened even though the GOP did not have an religious activist agenda. Now that they do have such an agenda, just imagine the damage they could have done if they had held their majority. I sure wish I could remember that congressman's name, because he may have just saved America.
BTW, you may have noticed that I had left out the National Day of Prayer. The reason I did is because that happened in 1952 during the Truman administration and so did not fit the bill of what the GOP had done while it controlled two of the branches of government. It doesn't mean that I approve of it, because they come right out and say that it is a Christian event, thus excluding many Americans.
- Americans United for Separation of Church and State
- (editted from their "about" page)
Since 1947, Americans United has worked to protect the constitutional principle of church-state separation, a vital cornerstone of religious liberty. Americans of many faiths and political viewpoints, individuals from all walks of life, have come together to defend freedoms. Mandatory prayer in public schools, tax dollars for parochial schools, government intrusion into religious affairs and meddling in partisan politics by religious groups are among the troubling issues that threaten the protective wall between church and state.
Daily, Americans United confronts these problems and those who seek to force their religious views on the public, standing as one of the most respected and trusted organizations working to preserve this Nation's heritage of freedom. With national offices in the Washington, D.C. area and a network of members and volunteers in all 50 states, Americans United fights vigorously in behalf of all citizens through:
- Working Through The Courts. They are regularly involved in a large number of court cases, setting legal precedents in behalf of church-state separation. They initiate lawsuits, provide legal counsel and support in other cases, and serve as partners in joint lawsuits.
- Educating Decision-Makers And The Public. They publish Church & State, an authoritative and often-quoted magazine covering the church-state field, and produce issue-papers, legislative alerts, reference materials and books on a wide variety of concerns and problems.
- Serving As Liaison With Government. They lobby against political attempts to entangle religion and government (eg, attempts to require prayer and religious activities in public schools) and for legal protection of religious rights (eg, legal protections of truly voluntary student religious exercises).
- Communicating Through The Media. Because of their reputation as a credible source of information and opinion, the news media consistently call on Americans United for comment. Our representatives appear regularly on all the national news broadcasts, information programs, and in print.
Through their web site, you can subscribe to their AU activist list-server.
- Institute for First Amendment Studies (no longer extant; archived at http://www.publiceye.org/ifas/)
- (from their "about" page)The Institute for First Amendment Studies, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and research organization, was founded in 1984 by former fundamentalist minister Skipp Porteous and attorney Barbara Simon, to expose and counter the political activities of the Religious Right. I am not sure when they closed shop.They published the quarterly, Freedom Writer, which is archived on the archive site given above.
The Institute was a national clearinghouse for information on theocratic movements in America. With monitors in almost every state, and a small staff of researchers, writers, and computer specialists, the Institute gathered data and prepared newsletters and reports about groups and individuals who posed (and still pose) a threat to First Amendment freedoms.
The Institute's library collected and catalogued hundreds of Religious Right publications. Other research efforts included attending Religious Right conferences and interviewing leaders of the Religious Right. In addition, the Institute's databank contained information on the activities of more than 150,000 Religious Right activists and organizations.
The Institute served as a resource for a wide variety of media, including CBS, CNN, NBC, MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time, Playboy, School Board News, TV Guide, Reform Judaism, Extra!, and Mother Jones.
They were also responsible for having revealing the existence of the secretive Council for National Policy; quoting from the archive site:Clothed in secrecy since its founding in 1981, the Council for National Policy is a virtual who's who of the Hard Right. Its membership comprises the Right's Washington operatives and politicians, its financiers, and its hard-core religious arm. The Hard Right utilizes the CNP's three-times-a-year secret meetings to plan its strategy for implementing the radical right agenda. It is here that the organizers and activists meet with the financial backers who put up the money to carry out their agenda.
Because CNP rules state that "meetings are closed to the media and the general public" and "our membership list is strictly confidential and should not be shared outside the Council," the mainstream press knows very little about the CNP. Through this site, and the Freedom Writer, the Institute for First Amendment Studies is, for the first time, revealing the activities and current membership of the Council for National Policy.
Honorable Mention:Back around 1988, I heard a tape of a hour-and-a-half presentation given by a science fiction writer named Orson Scott Card. Even though Card is a practicing Mormon, The Secular Humanist Revival Meeting was delivered in a Southern Baptist revival-tent, fire-and-brimstone style punctuated with "Amens" and "Hallaluyahs" from the audience, which I am sure that Card has heard many times living in the buckle of the Bible Belt. His leitmotiv of "Can you hear me? Am I talking loud enough?" is a real grabber when he unloads the punchline and his retelling the Story of Creation "as Moses would have told it if he had had the scientific knowledge to understand the great vision before him" is truly a wonder to behold.
OK, now that I've sold you on it, where can you get a copy? Unfortunately, if you visit Card's site you won't find any mention of it. It even seems like he is starting to distance himself from it, sounding like he believes that the danger is past. However, I did find these instructions on someone's site:You can purchase the tape by sending $8.95 toHatrack River PublicationThe price includes shipping.
P.O. Box 18184
Greensboro, NC 27419
--Per Kathleen Bellamy, Assistant to OSC, in response to an inquiry sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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First uploaded on 2001 November 01.
Updated on 2011 August 18.