The First Amendment of the US Constitution created a separation of church and state that mandates any and all religion must be completely removed from all levels of government. No religious education of any kind can take place in schools funded by the government. No religious activities can take place on property owned by government. No object, even those just hinting of religion, can be displayed on property owned by the government. This ban on all things religious affects all levels of government from the federal level all the way down to the local level.
The First Amendment prevents the US Government from establishing an official state religion such as the Church of England. This amendment also prevents the US government from interfering with our religious liberty.
The words separation of church and state are not in the First Amendment, any other amendment, or the body of the US Constitution.
The words do not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, or any document even remotely considered a founding document.
Those words do appear in a personal letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church and they have been taken completely out of context.
The exact wording of the First Amendment clause that deals with religion is:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
The First amendment specifically states that it prevents the Congress, the US Congress because this is the US Constitution, from making any law formally establishing an official religion. That is the only limitation placed on any government body in the entire United States. The second half of the clause prohibits Congress from interfering with the free exercise of religion.
This clause only limits the US Congress. For 20 years after the ratification of the Bill of Rights several States had official state religions. The Federal government did not force these states from having a state religion nor did the Supreme Court. these states themselves did away with their state religions.
Up until 1947 the Supreme Court routinely ruled the first amendment limited only the US congress. This changed with the Everson case that year when the Supreme Court reversed 150 years of precedence by ruling it applied at the state and local level. The Everson case is the first instance of the Supreme Court using the phrase “separation of church and state.”
From our founding the United States has always been a deeply christian nation. Any honest study of this country’s history will show this.
Religion was routinely taught and the bible read in public schools from our country’s founding until 1948 when the Supreme Court began ruling that is unconstitutional.
Since 1947 liberal activist judges on the Supreme Court and at all levels of the federal court have distorted the original intent of the first amendment.
Beginning in 1947 these activist judges have waged war on all forms of religion in public. Bibles, 10 Commandments, and all other religion was removed from public schools. Christmas trees, nativity scenes, even red and green napkins have been banned in schools and other government buildings. In 2010 a town fire department was forced to take down a sign that said “Merry Christmas.”