What is and what is not constitutional in the United States of America has changed over time for two major reasons. First, Constitutional Amendments modified the Constitution. Second, the Supreme Court has done its Constitutional duty of determining what is and is not constitutional. All but one of the 112 Supreme Court justices have been Christian. The one, David Davis, claimed to be non-denominational.
The 14th Amendment (a legal change to the Constitution and ratified by the States) expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans. The amendment has been cited in more legal cases than any other amendment to the Constitution. The United States Supreme Court cannot make a determination concerning what is constitutional until a case concerning that issue is brought before the court. Therefore, some time passed between the 1686 ratification of the 14th Amendment and Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940), which applied to the states, by means of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment's protection of religious free exercise. It was the first Supreme Court decision to apply the First Amendment's religious protections to all the states. Seven years later, Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), was the first Supreme Court decision to incorporate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and determine it is binding on the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It is noteworthy that the decisions follow World War II, during which the genocide of a religion under government rule.
It is noteworthy that In Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in the Court’s Opinion, "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.
Many State cases followed those federal cases in an effort to detangle the church from public schools, including a New Mexico case, Zellers v. Huff (1951). A lack of separation between church and state can have major consequences. ISIS may be an excellent example of what may occur when no wall of separation between church and state exists. Without this necessary separation any nation may find itself being ruled by Islamic Law or Christian Law; a circumstance which would deny the very religious freedom the Constitution seeks to insure. One should never forget that the Dark Ages was a period of history filled with religious war and religious rule because no proper separation of church and state existed.
Roxie Howard Lobbies in Washington, DC (Photograph of Roxie with Senator Mark Dayton in the Article)
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