When the War of Independence from England had been won , and
representatives of the 13 colonies gathered to draft rules to
" form a More Perfect Union , Establish Justice
and insure Domestic Tranquility " ,
What was the first rule , the very first clause --
before the first semicolon , defining the limits of the State ;
What was the very first clause of the first amendment demanded
before the Colonies would agree to become United States ?
" Congress shall make NO law respecting an
establishment of religion , or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof "
Why Freedom of Religion the very first ?
This freedom is , of course the basic right to seek one's
personal understanding of the reality we find ourselves in .
But why was this the very first consideration ?
It's because they knew what theocracy and religious war were
all about -- horrors we are relearning now 220 years later .
Many had left Europe as oppressed minorities in theocracies
like England itself . Religious wars like the 30 years war
were much closer in their history .
But more immediately , the various colonies were founded and
populated by a variety of sects : episcopalians , presbyterians
congregationalists , quakers , Catholics - to name a few .
[ from Justice Story : ] It was essential that :
" the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian,
the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the
national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or
mode of worship. "
President Jefferson wrote in a letter to a group of Baptists in
Danbury, Connecticut, that the purpose of the first clause was
to build ''a wall of separation between Church and State.''
The State , of course , defines , most profoundly , rights to
property and representation .
This cornerstone of domestic tranquility and its accompaning
prosperity , was forgotten by the mid 20th century when the
British Empire was disintegrating .
Like so many of our current woes , our entanglement in these
modern religious wars has its roots in movements beginning in
the late 19th century . In India a Moslem Nationalist
movement emerged , and in Europe a Jewish Zionist movement .
While the paths differed , both came to a head with the ending
of World War 2 , and the impossibility of continued British
control in both Palestine and the Indian SubContinent .
Britain itself , had , of course , long since adopted the wisdom
of the First Clause as any global trading nation must .
In India , While Hindu extremists did , and do , exist , their
leaders were British educated enough , to agree as Jawaharlal Nehru
did that the religious state was an anachronistism and a denial of
democracy . The Nationalist Moslem League itself may never have
had a majority in any of the dominantly Moslem areas .
In any case , two Theocracies were born , and with them immediate
and continuing bloodbaths .
Of the two , Pakistan and Israel , Pakistan , like Turkey and Iraq
and Afganistan before the Taliban , has become more secularly
Palestine has become a disaster area in which a new Berlin/Cyprus
Wall spliting the populations by religions is being built
where crops could be growing or chips being manufactured .
And our own lack of recognition of the deep wisdom of the First
Clause , has brought the global metastization of this religious
war home to us here in NYC .
The First Clause says no establishment of religion . That means
no expenditure of Taken money , Tax Money , to support any
religion -- any church .
What does it matter if the church is on this continent or
another ? Use of Taken money in support of any theocracy is a
violation of the first clause of the first amendment of the
US Constitution .
The greatest , quickest way to bring peace back to this world
is to stop any use of our tax money in support of any
theocracy . Let them support their own wars ; [ Let each citizen
decide for themselves whether or how much to tithe their
particular religion's activities . ]