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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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KEEPING GOVERNMENT OUT OF RELIGION

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." This pledge has been repeated by tens of millions of Americans millions of times since it's origin. David Tarbet writes that the pledge was first published in the September 8, 1892 issue of "Youth's Companion," a weekly magazine in Boston, and that it was written by Francis Bellamy, a member of the editorial staff of that magazine (see p. 364 Freed Hardeman University Lectureship Book, 1999: Hearing Wisdom's Voice —Proverbs at the Millennium). That pledge is one of the few things America's public school students can still participate in that openly acknowledges God and America's connection to God. I guess that's what riles up folks in the ACLU and others who want to take God out of the pledge. It's a big threat to the Constitution, you know, not to keep church and state separated. I mean, that concept was written into the Constitution by the nations Founding Fathers, was it not? As a matter of fact, the phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution. The First Amendment actually reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." D. P. Diffine gave the background of the so called "church and state" phrase in the October, 2000 Gospel Advocate, in an article entitled, "The Intent of Our Founding Fathers." He writes that in 1801, a political opponent of President Thomas Jefferson attacked Jefferson as being an atheist. In response, Jefferson, through private correspondence, communicated the following to the Danbury Baptist Association — "I contemplate with solemn 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." Diffine adds that, "It seems fairly clear that the `wall' was meant to protect churches from discrimination by government by means of, God forbid, a state church" Diffine's summary statement under the title of the Gospel Advocate article reads, "It appears that the First Amendment was not intended to remove religion from schools, but rather to keep government out of religion." 

Who needs separating from whom? One thing is for certain — we attempt to separate our nation from God at great peril.  "The wicked shall be tinned into hell, And all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ