A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of
With the defense by American Center for Law and Justice , the Appeals Court ruled the ACLU is wrong about the "separation of church and state" and Judge Suhrheinrich wrote: "[the ACLU]does not embody the reasonable person."
In fact it wasn't until 1940 when the slogan "separation of church and state" became what it means today.
Now look at the First Amendment:
"Congress …" – we know what that is.
"… shall make no law …" Well now, I'll bet you thought you knew what that means. You thought it meant Congress shall make no law. But what you didn't know was that in 1940, in the Supreme Court case of Cantwell v. Connecticut, the justices decided – citing a mysterious legal principle called "incorporation" – that the First Amendment applied not just to Congress, but to state governments too. So now the federal government could force the states to follow its dictates in regards to prohibiting the "establishment" or prohibiting the "free exercise" of religion. This is obviously something the original 13 states would have rejected outright, given that half of them had state "establishments" of religion.
"…respecting an establishment of religion …" For 150 years an "establishment of religion" in the context of the First Amendment meant that a national church, a particular denomination, wouldn't be supported and imposed on the states by the federal government. But with the decline of Christianity in the U.S. and, indeed, increasing hostility toward it, the meaning of "establishment of religion" has been radically changed
What it the first amendment meant to the early Americans
* In 1777, with the Revolutionary War threatening the flow of Bibles from England, Congress approved the purchase of 20,000 Bibles from Holland to give to the states.
* No fewer than six of the 13 original states had official, state-supported churches – "establishments of religion"! I'll bet you didn't know that. In fact, these states – Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Carolina – refused to ratify the new national Constitution unless it included a prohibition of federal meddling with their existing state "establishments of religion."
Still other states required those seeking elected office to be Christians.* The Continental Congress routinely designated days of "fasting and prayer" and other religious observances, appointed government-funded chaplains, and appropriated money to pay for Christian missionaries to convert the Indians.
In other words, the original American government under the Constitution would have driven the American Civil Liberties Union stark, raving mad
tip to DFO at Huckleberries Online