Archived Story

Bob Hess: ‘State religions’ part of history

Published 9:18pm Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When this country was first established, states decided to establish their own “state religion.” This was one of the reasons why many people left England. They wanted to get away from the persecution that arose as a result of a state religion.
Virginia had a state religion. If a child was born of a family of another religion, the child was considered illegitimate. Preachers of other religious beliefs were whipped and jailed. Everyone was taxed to support the state religion. Even Indians were not allowed to worship their gods in public. Quakers were beaten and expelled from the land because of their beliefs.
In Massachusetts, preachers were whipped and imprisoned for rejecting the state church and infant baptism. Others were imprisoned and heavily fined.
In 1774, Baptists pushed for the recognition of the personal, God-given rights of the individual citizen, at the First Continental Congress.  This led to the First Amendment of the Constitution of The United States.
The reason for the First Amendment was to keep the government from creating a state religion and to allow every American citizen to worship as he/she so desired without government interference. Man. Have today’s government officials ever turned that around from what it was intended to mean.
Today, the Judiciary has established the religions of atheism and agnosticism as the state religions of America. Congress has allowed the Judiciary to get away with this. It is the responsibility of Congress to make laws within the confines of the Constitution and the Judiciary has the responsibility to make sure that all laws are within the confines of the intent of the writers of the Constitution as it was ratified by the states at that time.
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary not withstanding. (Article VI, Constitution of the United States, Para. 2)
Also stated in the Constitution are these words, which are found in Article VI, Paragraph 3: “The senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution…”
So, when it comes to supporting the freedom to worship, and not the idea of forbidding the open and free worship of God, the American, governing officials are required to uphold every person’s First Amendment right to worship anywhere and in any way that they please without government interference, as long as their assembly is a peaceable one and not physically harmful to anyone. Neither federal branch, nor any state branch of government is allowed to infringe upon those rights that are guaranteed by Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States of America.

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