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Letter: State vs. church plan

Dear Editor,

It is so disheartening to see that when a lie is told often enough, it will be believed. A letter from last week declared that the "separation of church and state" is stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

That is not true. It is not in the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights. It originated from a letter which Jefferson wrote to a personal friend. The First Amendment was established to protect the fledgling United States from the trap that ensnared England - a government-imposed religion that was inconsistent with true Christianity.

It states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is fascinating to note that President Jefferson regularly attended church services that were held in the chamber of the House of Representatives. Throughout his administration, he permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.

The phrase "separation of church and state" is totally taken out of context to support a viewpoint. The late William Rehnquist, former chief justice of the Supreme Court, forcefully objected to this usage, saying "The 'wall of separation between Church and State' is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned."