By Debra Whittington: Notes from the Church Lady
In most cases, I try to stay away from politics in my weekly column, however something happened last week that really riled my feathers. In Montgomery, Alabama, Chief Justice Roy Moore was ordered to remove a Ten Commandments monument that is located in a judicial building. Although he appealed to the Supreme Court for an order for the monument to remain, the court declined to hear his appeal.
I want to emphasize that these are my own views that the First Amendment allows me to share. I encourage readers to do their own research into all areas of this case and after doing so, form their own opinions. I respect the right of readers to oppose my views as well and in the forum of letters to the editor, to make their views known as well. The right to do so is what makes this nation great.
The case in question revolves around the Americans United for Separation of Church and State who are suing Judge Moore and insisting the monument be removed. The group’s attorney, Ayesha Khan, said “it’s time for Roy’s rock to roll.” The group cites that the presence of this monument in a public building violates the separation of church and state.
I decided to learn a little more about this group so I looked up their site on the Internet. The Web site states, “It is true that the literal phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution, but that does not mean the concept isn’t there.”
They go on to site the significance of Thomas Jefferson’s famous Danbury letter in which Jefferson makes reference to separation of church and state. In the text of this letter, Jefferson states, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for is faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
Over he years, this letter has been interpreted many ways and even cited by the Supreme Court in some of their cases including the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education. In that case, Justice Hugo Black wrote, “In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and State.”
When did personal correspondence of presidents become the law of the land? Whatever Jefferson’s views were, they were just that — his views and not law. Over the years, opponents took his statements as the intentions of the federal government and the people at the time, which is far from the truth.
It is time that we stopped relying on other people to think for us and to take a stand for what we believe in. If you believe as I do that this monument should remain where it is, contact your elected officials and voice your view. If you don’t believe as I do, I urge you to also contact your elected officials. It is only through letting our voices be heard that this nation “of the people and by the people” can enact laws instead of letting a few people try to figure out the intent of our founding fathers.