Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” reference, often cited by atheists to drive the moral foundation of this country right out of the public square, is a phrase that really should be attached to our Tenth Amendment. This country was founded on religious freedom and the ability to worship God as we please. Atheists have tried to argue that we can’t recognize religion in the public square, and that, as most Americans know, is complete garbage.
The Bible was the main book used to educate early Americans because it was often the only book anyone owned or had access to. The lessons in the Bible have stood the test of time because Christians believe it is the word of God. Without the moral foundation of our Christian principles this nation could not have survived. Our founders argued this in many a debate about the divine providence of this great nation. They believed America could only survive as long as our faith in God did.
The true “wall of separation” debated at the constitutional convention and during the ratification process was the Tenth Amendment. It was inserted into the constitution to insure the central government could never become the dominant power over the states and individuals. The citizens of early America would have never thought one day Americans would even consider removing Christianity from the public square. The first amendment forbidding the government from “establishing” a religion or “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was penned to insure government could not force people to worship a specific Christian denomination. The furthest thing from their minds would have been taking religion out of public life. Religion and Christianity was their life.
The real debate about a “wall of separation” was the concern that a central government would interfere in the internal workings of the state governments and individual liberties. That is something that was a real threat to the Americans of the day (and as we see today; it was a legitimate concern and threat). The constitution would never have been ratified without the Bill of Rights and specifically the Tenth Amendment. The distrust of a large central authority was real, and needed to be checked with a definitive and detailed reference in the constitution; hence the Tenth Amendment.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectfully, or to the people”
This is the “wall of separation” that allowed this great nation to be born. What this amendment truly says is “no need to worry because there is little that the federal government is responsible for and if they try to expand we can nullify the laws because all other power lies in the states and people. States and individuals are the true power base, and the central government has very little responsibility beyond national security and foreign and regular trade among the several states.” It was the state’s insurance that they had a way to control central authority.
So to the Americans at our founding the “Ace in the hole” was the Tenth Amendment. And now, to millions of Americans, we have reached the time we need to play the ace in the hole. It was important at our founding, and because of the foresight of our founders, we have it to insure our survival.
The time has come to play the ace our founders gave us in the constitution; the Tenth Amendment…