What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 9, 2012

Huh. Go Figure.

An interesting stream of words came to me this weekend via a facebook status update.  The text read:
We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.
It's that last part that fumes our friends, the social/religious conservatives.  It's not in the Constitution, they say.  It's not what the founders or the framers intended, they say.  Our greatness as a culture depends on our reliance on our shared Judeo/Christian heritage, they say.  Erasing it will only undermine that greatness, they say.

Only a traitorous lib'rul could say what I read on facebook.  The thing is my loyal facebook friend asserted that it was Ronald Reagan who spewed forth such malicious ideas.

But, o gentle reader, if you've learned anything whilst perusing this blog, you will have learned by now that just because it says so on the internet does not mean it's true.  I mean there's no evidence Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote:
No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion, nor can be.
The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man, and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.
And yet Jack Kelly, P-G columnist went on record and said he did.  See what I mean?

So we're left with the question.  Did Ronald Wilson Reagan, secular saint of the GOP and its Tea Party zealots actually say that "Church and state are, and must remain, separate"?

Why yes, yes he did.  The date was October 24, 1984 and he was speaking before members of the Congregation of Temple Hillel and Jewish Community Leaders in Valley Stream, New York.

He also said:
At the same time that our Constitution prohibits state establishment of religion, it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.
And just six weeks earlier, on September 6 at the International Convention of the B'nai B'rith, Ronald Reagan said:
Well, let me speak plainly: The United States of America is and must remain a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. Our very unity has been strengthened by this pluralism. That's how we began; this is how we must always be. The ideals of our country leave no room whatsoever for intolerance, anti-Semitism, or bigotry of any kind -- none. The unique thing about America is a wall in our Constitution separating church and state. It guarantees there will never be a state religion in this land, but at the same time it makes sure that every single American is free to choose and practice his or her religious beliefs or to choose no religion at all. Their rights shall not be questioned or violated by the state."
Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of these United States of America thought that there was a wall separating Church and State.

Yea. Go figure.

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