By Hank Zumach, August 3, 2009
We all know we are free to own a home, but the Constitution doesn’t specifically say that. We can use the highways, but the Constitution doesn’t specifically say that. Nowhere in the Constitution does it specifically say that we can move to a different state, go to public school, decide what religion we may practice or many other things that we take for granted because the courts have ruled the way they have.
Facts can be deceiving. When fact-based statements are deliberately used to deceive, it is difficult to distinguish them from deliberate lies. Such is the case with the repeated use of the statement that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ are not in the Constitution.” Then the writer usually makes the claim that this absence means that the Constitution allows that certain religious beliefs and practices (the writer’s) can be imposed on the rest of the nation.
What is true, of course, is that the only reasonable interpretation of the Constitution’s language is that church and state must be kept separate. If that were not true the country would have laws allowing bigamy, taxes going to churches, priests and preachers having veto power over elected legislatures and much worse. We must never forget that it was religious beliefs that justified slavery, killing homosexuals, discrimination against women and the prohibition of teaching many scientific facts.
And we must never believe those who claim that the Constitution does not require the separation of church and state.