If the founders wanted religion used as public policy, why did they write an estblishment clause that prevents state sponsered religion?
Well its a good thing that I’m studying 16th and 17th century European history in school right now because I know exactly why the the establishment clause was included. The founding fathers, whether Christian or deist, understood the political, social and economic turmoil caused by the combination of Church and State. In particular, the founding fathers would have been aware of English history, the 30 Years’ War, English civil war and the deposing of Charles I, Cromwell, the Glorious Revolution, etc. etc and the constant flux of Protestant and Catholic favor depending on which monarch was in power. They would have known French history as well…the Huguenots, Cardinal Richelieu, the Edict of Nantes, Louis XIV, etc. etc. The founders knew that the consciences of the American people should not be constantly vexed by the ever-changing religious motives of one man, or a few men. They also knew that true religion could not flourish when it is bound up with political ends and sinful men. To think that the establishment clause was presented as a dream of a secular America without religion, like some kind of 18th century John Lennon tribute, is innacurate and misleading, a clear example of 20th century religious sentiment imposed on revolutionary era America.
If the founders wanted a christian theocracy why did they not included the Ten Commandments, the words God or Jesus or any other religious verbage in our constitution?
Careful with the straw man arguments, I never mentioned anything about the Founders wanting a Christian theocracy. I don’t want a Christian theocracy either. I am not convinced by the Christian Reconstructionist/theonomic arguments that today’s governments should use OT moral and civil law verbatim for their policies (even then, it would technically be an ecclesiocracy, not a theocracy). However, I think its possible and desirable to enforce Christian principles and even OT law in some cases AS CIVIL LAW without creating a national religion or plaguing the consciences of a nations people. In fact, our government already does do that in part. At the same time, I interpret much of the New Testament discourse on civil government (what little there is) to mean that Christians are generally to obey the authorities in power insofar as they are not sinning against God in the process. In other words, I think the primary means in which God is building His Kingdom is through the Gospel, which cannot and should not be enforced or manipulated by the civil magistrate. This again is why I support the first amendment.
The establishment clause in fact guarantees a secular democracy and that was it’s exact intent, and most enlightened people, for over two centuries now, have understood that, including millions of ‘thinking’ christians.
Wrong…it only should guarantee that the government does not hold people accountable to God (the papacy) and that the government cannot force religious practice or conscience on any person or persons. I think the majority of the founders envisioned a highly moral and religious representative republic without force of religion or a State religion. I know for sure that Adams did because he has a quote that says the exact same thing.
For the government to stay out of religion, religion must be kept out of governing.
And again, this is really not possible in the way I think you may want it, at least in a society built on laws. The government punishes wrongdoers. Government officials must legislate and make laws concerning what is “wrong”. The discussion of what is wrong is a philosophical and religious conversation for a majority of Americans. Therefore, religion is integral to creating and enforcing law.