It's not freedom from religion

Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 12:39 a.m.
I thank Monteen Soldani (Dec. 29) and J.A. Newkirk (Jan. 2) for their interesting responses to my letter of Dec. 27. I don't entirely disagree with Newkirk. The Founding Fathers clearly did not want to establish Christianity. However, neither did they intend to forbid all public expression of religion.
I listed many indisputable and verifiable official acts by the Founding Fathers (presidents and Congress, no less!) that incorporated religion in the public arena. Some are still practiced today. Although Newkirk dismisses these as a "litany of supposed acts by some founders," it is undeniable proof that the Founding Fathers did not equate acknowledgement of religion with establishment of religion.
According to Soldani, however, the Founding Fathers' intent concerning the Constitution is irrelevant because they lived in an antiquated era that included some evils, such as slavery. Therefore, the original meaning of the First Amendment should not apply in our modern society. If that's true, then any good notion we have adopted from the ancient Greeks or Romans (on law, politics, education, etc.) should also be considered irrelevant because slavery and other evils existed in their antiquated eras as well.
From its inception until the mid-20th century, the First Amendment was interpreted, with very few exceptions, as our Founding Fathers intended: freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Carlos Javier Rosaly,


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