DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> PELICANPOST.BLOGSPOT.COM: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's metaphorical "wall of separation" between church and state is unconstitutionally-created anti-religion law.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black's metaphorical "wall of separation" between church and state is unconstitutionally-created anti-religion law.

Folks, this is without doubt a *****Five Star, must read impeccable thesis on the misuse of a metaphor, gleaned from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Dansbury Baptists about issuing religious "proclamations" while President of the United States, to unconstitutionally create the mythical "wall of separation" and codify it as judicially-created pseudo-law by including it in a Supreme Court precedent-setting ruling.

The extra-Constitutional opinion by Justice Hugo Black has since been used by secular-humanists to discriminate against Christians and Christian religion and remove all evidence of Christian religion from the public square and public life.

This ruling effectively turned "Freedom of Religion" into freedom from religion. It also provided a Court-sanctioned means for discriminating against Christians, by violating their First Amendment freedom of expression and rendering them less equal than the secular-humanist athiests and agnostics whose mission it is to remove all traces of religion from America.

The outstanding and well-researched piece was written by Daniel L. Dreisbach and you can read it in its entirety at The Heritage Foundation. I have broken out some of the main points to include in excerpts below. But it is well worth taking the time to read all of it.
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"The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse" (First Principles #6)

"No metaphor in American letters has had a more profound influence on law and policy than Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state.” Today, this figure of speech is accepted by many Americans as a pithy description of the constitutionally prescribed church–state arrangement, and it has become the sacred icon of a strict separationist dogma that champions a secular polity in which religious influences are systematically and coercively stripped from public life.

In our own time, the judiciary has embraced this figurative phrase as a virtual rule of constitutional law and as the organizing theme of church–state jurisprudence, even though the metaphor is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution...

What is the source of this figure of speech, and how has this symbol of strict separation between religion and public life come to dominate church–state law and policy? Of Jefferson’s many celebrated pronouncements, this is one of his most misunderstood and misused. I would like to challenge the conventional, secular myth that Thomas Jefferson, or the constitutional architects, erected a high wall between religion and the civil government.[2]...

Throughout his public career, including two terms as President, Jefferson pursued policies incompatible with the “high and impregnable” wall the modern Supreme Court has erroneously attributed to him. For example, he endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians...

Jefferson’s wall, as a matter of federalism, was erected between the national and state governments on matters pertaining to religion and not, more generally, between the church and all civil government...

The “high and impregnable” wall central to the past 50 years of church–state jurisprudence is not Jefferson’s wall; rather, it is the wall that Black—Justice Hugo Black—built in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education.

The differences between the two walls are suggested by Jefferson’s record as a public official in both Virginia and the nation, which shows that he initiated practices and implemented policies inconsistent with Justice Black’s and the modern Supreme Court’s “high and impregnable” wall of separation...

Jefferson’s wall separated church and the federal government only. By incorporating the First Amendment non-establishment provision into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Black’s wall separates religion and civil government at all levels—federal, state, and local...

After two centuries, Jefferson’s trope is enormously influential, but it remains controversial. The question bitterly debated is whether the wall illuminates or obfuscates the constitutional principles it metaphorically represents...

...the religion provisions were added to the Constitution to protect religion and religious institutions from corrupting interference by the federal government and not to protect the civil state from the influence of, or overreaching by, religion. The wall, however, is a bilateral barrier that unavoidably restricts religion’s ability to influence public life; thus, it necessarily and dangerously exceeds the limitations imposed by the First Amendment...

Is their wall a single-sided wall that imposes restrictions on the church but not on the civil state? All too often, the wall of separation is used to silence the church and to limit its reach into public life, but it is rarely used to restrain the civil state’s meddling in, and restraint of, the church...

We must confront the uncomfortable fact that, for much of American history, the phrase “separation of church and state” and its attendant metaphoric formulation, “a wall of separation,” have often been expressions of exclusion, intolerance, and bigotry. These phrases have been used to silence people and communities of faith and to exclude them from full participation in public life...

Why should we care about this metaphor today? We should care because the wall is all too often used to separate religion from public life, thereby promoting a religion that is essentially private and a state that is strictly secular. This would have alarmed the founders because they viewed religion, to paraphrase George Washington’s words, as an indispensable support for social order and political prosperity...

Today, the wall is the cherished emblem of a strict separationist dogma intolerant of religious influences in the public square. Federal and state courts have used the “wall of separation” concept to justify censoring private religious expression...

The systematic and coercive removal of religion from public life not only is at war with our cultural traditions insofar as it evinces a callous indifference toward religion, but also offends basic notions of freedom of religious exercise, expression, and association in a democratic and pluralistic society.

The “high and impregnable” wall constructed by the Supreme Court inhibits religion’s ability to inform the public ethic and policy, deprives religious citizens of the civil liberty to participate in politics armed with ideas informed by their spiritual values, and infringes the right of religious communities and institutions to extend their prophetic ministries into the public square.

Jefferson’s metaphor, sadly, has been used to silence the religious voice in the marketplace of ideas and, in a form of religious apartheid, to segregate faith communities behind a restrictive barrier.

The wall is politically divisive. Because it is so concrete and unyielding, its very invocation forecloses meaningful dialogue regarding the prudential and constitutional role of religion, faith communities, and religious citizens in public life...

Metaphors, however, must be used with caution in the law, especially in judicial opinions and statutes. Legal discourse, unlike much political rhetoric, requires precision of expression, strict and orderly adherence to rules set forth in legislative enactments or past judicial decisions.
Metaphor is a valuable literary device, but its uncritical use can lead to confusion and distortion...

Metaphors inevitably graft onto their subjects connotations, emotional intensity, and/or cultural associations that transform the understanding of the subject as it was known pre-metaphor. If attributes of the metaphor are erroneously or misleadingly assigned to the subject and the distortion goes unchallenged, the metaphor may reconceptualize or otherwise alter the understanding of the underlying subject.

The more appealing and powerful a metaphor, the more it tends to supplant or overshadow the original subject and the more one is unable to contemplate the subject apart from its metaphoric formulation. Thus, distortions perpetuated by the metaphor are sustained and magnified...

A year after Everson, Justice Stanley F. Reed denounced the Court’s reliance on the metaphor. “A rule of law,” he protested, “should not be drawn from a figure of speech.”[13] Justice Potter Stewart similarly opined in the first school‑prayer case that the Court’s task in resolving complex constitutional controversies “is not responsibly aided by the uncritical invocation of metaphors like the ‘wall of separation,’ a phrase nowhere to be found in the Constitution.”[14]

In a stinging repudiation of the Court’s use of the trope, Justice William Rehnquist offered that the wall “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.”[15]..."

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