In the mid-20th century, all by themselves, nine men brought a revolutionary change to America. These nine men were the members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
For most of our nation's history, the justices recognized that they were subject to a higher law found in God's Word. The Court viewed law as President Calvin Coolidge did when he declared, "Men do not make laws, they do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest upon the eternal foundations of righteousness."
But in early 1947, an entirely new agenda gripped the Court. In Everson v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment erected a "wall of separation" between church and state which must be kept "high and impregnable." Astonishingly, the Court cited no precedent from previous rulings. The case was an official betrayal of America's Christian heritage.
In this landmark decision, the Court lifted the words "separation of church and state" totally out of context from a single Thomas Jefferson letter, not even an official document, changed his intent, totally ignored the context of the message, Jefferson's many other words, and the many utterances of other Founding Fathers and all legal precedents, and instituted this radically new concept in law.
Jefferson's letter was to a group of Baptists who were concerned about a rumor that another denomination was about to be made the official national denomination. He wrote to assure them that such would not happen because the First Amendment has erected "a wall of separation between church and state." This, however, was in the context of the entire letter, emphasizing that God's principles would remain in government, but that the government would not run the church.
The words "separation of church and state" do not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or amendments. The First Amendment merely states that the Congress shall make no law that establishes a religion, or prohibits its free exercise. The purpose of the First Amendment was to prevent what the Founding Fathers had experienced in Great Britain: government control by a single denomination. In those days, the word "religion" was synonymous with the phrase "Christian denomination."
The record overwhelmingly proves that our Founding Fathers never intended for biblical influence and principles to be excluded from public life. Such a dramatic spiritual downturn in America began in 1947.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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