Newly independent, the thirteen States were concerned their new government may become too powerful, as King George’s was. They insisted handcuffs be place on the power of the Federal Government. We call these the First Ten Amendments or Bill of Rights, ratified DECEMBER 15, 1791.
The First states:
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.
Regarding this, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:
I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the U.S.
Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.