Author Adam Lee writes about church-state separation and our godless Constitution. Make sure to click through and read the entire article, especially page 2, which has quotes from early American clergy who were upset that our nation did not acknowledge a god.
I wrote a brief comment on JT’s site responding to this, but I’d like to expand on it.
First of all, the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t explicitly appear in the Constitution, but the concept most certainly does: in the First Amendment, which forbids Congress to pass any law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion (and forcing the government to take sides in a religious dispute obviously does interfere with the free exercise of people who believe something different). “Separation of church and state” was a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson to explain precisely what this clause meant. Claiming that the concept doesn’t exist in the Constitution because the exact wording doesn’t appear is an exercise in myopic hyper-literalism. Imagine saying to an evangelical Christian, “The word ‘Trinity’ doesn’t appear in the Bible. Therefore, the Trinity is an unbiblical doctrine and you’re wrong to believe it!” I wonder how Witherington would respond…
But here’s the more important point. In other important legal documents of that era – the Articles of Confederation, the Mayflower Compact, the English Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and even the individual state constitutions – religious language and religious test oaths were ubiquitous.