Saturday, February 28, 2009

An Anniversary of Church-State Separation

Bob feels that the Framers of the Constitution wanted a "blending" of church and state, not a separation. However, on this day in 1811, James Madison set an important precedent on church/state relations.

Congress tried to give some land away to a Baptist Church. The then-President, James Madison, author of the First Amendment, knew this land-grant was in violation of the Establishment Clause. Madison vetoed the bill and stated:
Because the bill in reserving a certain parcel of land of the United States for the use of said Baptist Church comprises a principle and precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, contrary to the article of the Constitution which declares that "Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment."
So much for Bob's "blending" claims!

Three cheers for Madison and his convictions in keeping taxpayer dollars from supporting religions that one may not agree with.

1 comment:

Lumberjack said...

Of couse Bob likes to talk about the alleged actions of the FF's to supporting his "blending" idea because if the focus is on what the FF's put on paper, he's dead.

His most frequent lie is to say Fisher Ames was the author of the first amendment. He knows better. Of couse he wants to distract attention from Madison because of the correctness of what you posted.

The FF's knew perfectly well what they wrote will trump any subsequent actions they took that may make a contrary impression.

One argument is that the FA is to bar the governement from promoting one sect over another, meaning to promote religion in general is fine. Such folks are called "non-preferentialists" and Professor Phillip Hamburger notwithstanding, their arguemt has been put to rest given the history of the development of the first amendment and a close look at Madison's views.