My answer may come as a shock to you, but it’s the truth according to historians who recorded the original intent of the authors of the Bill of Rights.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment covers several topics, but I want to focus on the portion pertaining to religion. Some might believe it speaks of all religious beliefs. However this is not what the original authors intended. The meaning of ‘religion’ is different today than it was in the late 1700’s. To be accurate, we must consider the intent of the wording.
The best way to determine what the intent of the writing was, is to review literature and writings pertaining to the document. The historian, Joseph Story, has done this for us. Mr. Story has written that the original intent meant ‘Christianity’ and the various denominations. Story was appointed to the bench by James Madison, the father of the Constitution. Story was the longest serving associate justice in Supreme-Court history. He has the first-hand knowledge of what the intent was and the legal background to justify it. Story recorded the history of the Constitution and it was clearly evident that the only religion the Founders were focused upon was Christianity. They did not prohibit the other religions, they just didn’t consider them at all.
Joseph Story said:
“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.”
They wanted to prohibit Congress from selecting one denomination of Christianity and making it the official church of the United States; as England had done several years earlier.
This prominent historian of the time, clarifies that the First Amendment neither protects nor prohibits alternative religions to Christianity; it just ignores them completely! Since the First Amendment is silent on these other religions, then the issue becomes a states’-rights issue.
As Jefferson recorded:
“Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. It must then rest with the states…”
Story confirms the opinion of Jefferson:
“Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice and the state’ constitutions.”
During the early years, the states leaned towards certain denominational beliefs. So these words from our Founding Fathers make perfect sense. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from selecting one denomination for the entire country. The states, however, could effectively all choose to do so. I believe it would be great to see each and every state declare their allegiance to our Lord and Savior. I wrote about this in my book, Behind Enemy Lines in Godless America, where I hope one day we will see a new flag waving over America. A flag where every star is replaced with a cross, to show the world that we are a Christian nation.