‘Almighty God Hath Created the Mind Free’ – Article on the true Meaning of Religious Freedom

acton-instThere is a great article about the true meaning of religious freedom and what our founding fathers really meant by the separation of church and state. You can read the whole article here.

First the author, Steven F. Hayward, makes the point that during the first years of our republic, certain legislators in the state of Virginia, wanted to tax the people to support the churches. similar to what the process is in Europe today. Steven presents the theory that government financing of religion serves to decrease the active intellectual competition between beliefs, therefore given the lack of public discussion, the interest in religion wanes and people drift away.

Below is an excerpt;


In other words, if, instead of grasping for secular political power, different Christian denominations competed for the souls of citizens, then religion, paradoxically, could have a larger and more salutary effect on the character of society. It is tempting to see this as an example of the superiority of competition over monopoly, and although this would not be wrong (the example of moribund state churches in Europe today bolsters this point), it is too superficial. The paradox of strengthening religion by seemingly weakening it politically is central to the American character. Consider the following two statements by George Washington. In 1796, Washington said that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” Yet in his famous farewell address two years later, Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

A Rebuke to Attackers of Reason and Revelation in Equal Measure

This was not a contradiction or even a paradox to the Founders because they understood the essential harmony between the moral teachings of reason (natural law, if you like) and the moral teachings of revealed religion when it came to political questions. The principle of the separation of church and state is today widely misinterpreted to mean the exclusion of religion from public life. The Founders, to the contrary, thought a fastidious neutrality on the part of the state between denominations and faiths would strengthen the influence of faith in our culture.


Next he expounds on the original intent of the separation of church and state by our founding fathers. It is not that our state should divorce itself from any type of religion, meaning no Christmas, no prayers, no demonstration of any type of spirituality, which is the end result of our PC culture, but only that all religions should be left in competition to present their ideas to all citizens.

All precepts that any Spiritist would completely agree. Spiritism should be allowed to present our Doctrine, allow other religions to adopt parts to suit their own purposes, thereby enriching spiritual opportunities for all those interested in improving themselves.

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