(2-19) But what of the scientific evidence that supposedly contradicts these statements? Isn't the evidence that all life evolved from a common source overwhelming? Harold G. Coffin, Professor of Paleontology and Research at the Geoscience Research Institute, Andrews University in Michigan, presented one scientist's view of how life began. The following excerpts are from a pamphlet on the Creation written by Dr. Coffin.
In the world another theory of how things began is popularly held and widely taught. This theory, that of organic evolution, was generally developed from the writings of Charles Darwin. It puts forth different ideas concerning how life began and where man came from. In relation to this theory, the following statements should help you understand what the Church teaches about the Creation and the origin of man.
Before discussing the positive influence of Christian ideas on the American Founders, let me briefly suggest the central reason why the Constitution appears to be “Godless.” Simply put, the Founders were creating a national government for a very few limited purposes—notably those enumerated in Article I, Section 8. There was almost universal agreement that if there was to be legislation on religious or moral matters, it should be done by state and local governments.
In fact, states remained active in this business well into the 20th century. It is true that the last state church was disestablished in 1832, but many states retained religious tests for public office, had laws aimed at restricting vice, required prayer in schools, and so forth. Because the federal government was not to be concerned with these issues, they were not addressed in the Constitution. The First Amendment merely reinforced this understanding with respect to the faith—i.e., has no power to establish a national church or restrict the free exercise of religion.
The wall is politically divisive. Because it is so concrete and unyielding, its very invocation forecloses meaningful dialogue regarding the prudential and constitutional role of religion, faith communities, and religious citizens in public life. The uncritical use of the metaphor has unnecessarily injected inflexibility into church-state debate, fostered distortions and confusion, and polarized students of church-state relations, inhibiting the search for common ground and compromise on delicate and vexing issues.
Few doubt that Puritans were serious Christians attempting to create, in the words of Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop, “a shining city upon a hill” (a reference to Matthew 5:14). Puritans separated church and state, but they clearly thought the two institutions should work in tandem to support, protect, and promote true Christianity.
In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general [i.e., federal] government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State or Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.
The first three articles of this text go on to state that the colonists have embarked on a “sacred cause,” to mandate regular church attendance, and to proclaim that anyone who speaks impiously against the Trinity or who blasphemes God’s name will be put to death.
Constitution's prohibition on governmental establishment of religion.(School)" Many states still hold cases on constitutionality of vouchers with many rulings being overturned in higher courts of the state, and the majority of states have Blaine amendments which "contain various restrictions on aid to private and religious institutions" (School).
Early colonial laws and constitutions such as the Mayflower Compact, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, and Massachusetts Body of Liberties are filled with such language—and in some cases, they incorporate biblical texts wholesale. Perhaps more surprisingly, tolerant, Quaker Pennsylvania was more similar to Puritan New England than many realize. The (1681) begins by making it clear that God has ordained government, and it even quotes Romans 13 to this effect. Article 38 of the document lists “offenses against God” that may be punished by the magistrate, including:
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
Vouchers are a controversial issue when dealing with separation of church and state. The government gives parents tax dollars in the form of vouchers giving the parents a choice in which school their child attends. Whether it's a school in another district, a private school, or a religious school, public money that would normally be used to fund public schools is instead spent on private and religious schools.
The phrase "wall of separation" entered the lexicon of American constitutional law in 1879. In , the U.S. Supreme Court opined that the Danbury letter "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [first] amendment thus secured." Although the Court reprinted the entire second paragraph of Jefferson's letter containing the metaphorical phrase, Jefferson's language is generally characterized as .
An extensive survey of early colonial constitutions and laws reveals many similar provisions. As well, at least nine of the 13 colonies had established churches, and all required officeholders to be Christians—or, in some cases, Protestants. Quaker Pennsylvania, for instance, expected officeholders to be “such as possess faith in Jesus Christ.”