What 'Separation of Church and State' Is Really Supposed to Mean

First Continental Congress (Wikimedia Commons)

Dec. 15 marks the 227th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, which protects freedoms such as speech, press and religion. It says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

To the Founding Fathers, this meant walling off government from interfering with Americans' faith. Nowadays, the understanding of that wall has become so twisted, it's sometimes used to prevent Americans from practicing their faith.

It's as if today's interpreters think "making no law respecting an establishment of religion" means government and God can have nothing to do with each other. But what did the Founding Fathers who wrote the First Amendment actually mean?

Founders Opposed Ramming of Religion Down Citizens' Throats

"When the founders talked about separation of church and state, they had a historical context that we really lack," David Barton of WallBuilders told CBN News.

He said those founders saw great danger in rulers establishing a specific religion their subjects then had to practice.

Christian historian Rev. Eddie Hyatt, author of Pilgrims & Patriots, explained, "Church and state were merged together, and the church used the power of the state to enforce its doctrines and practices."

Founders Feared a Forced and Cruel Christianity

Hyatt mentioned certain governments used deadly force against dissenters who wanted to worship in their own way, saying, "Those people were persecuted, burned at the stake, some had their tongues cut out. The founders did not want that kind of Christianity."

Barton added, "And so that's the context they have for the separation of church and state. It was never the church taking over the state. It was always the state taking over the church."

Click here to read the rest of the story from our content partners at CBN News.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders