The Christmas Season has ended and along with it the great controversy over the naming of the State House tree. However, just as the great debate of last month was laid to rest along comes the Freedom From Religion Foundation with their new billboard on Route 295 urging government officials to “Keep Religion OUT of Politics.”
The secular-humanist organization headquartered in left-leaning Madison, Wisconsin has over the years placed nearly 700 of these billboard messages in more than 60 cities.
The phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the Constitution, yet the concept of keeping the government apart from religion does. The First Amendment prohibits the federal government from establishing a state church and discriminating for or against particular faiths. Our founding fathers sought to guarantee that each American would be free to pursue the religion of their choice without state interference. President Thomas Jefferson's notion of a "wall of separation" sought to illustrate how the First Amendment was designed to protect churches from the government and nothing more. What the new billboard conveniently ignores is that our founding fathers sought to make a nation in which there would be freedom of religion not freedom from religion.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a small organization, but proclaims a large message that religion and faith should have no part in politics. They offer us a misinformed and misguided message that ignores history and reality. The twentieth century demonstrated that when religion and faith are removed from politics what results is dictatorship and death. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao proved this to be true. Yet when religion and faith were infused into the politics of the last century the world witnessed the rise of liberty, freedom, equality and reconciliation thanks to great faith leaders like Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Blessed Pope John Paul II. President George Washington in his Farewell Address to the Nation in 1797 wisely stated: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” His wise words would make for a much better billboard than the misguided message now adorning Route 295.